Chinese billing vendor AsiaInfo is enabling subscribers of Thai operator AIS to share data and minutes with each other, and even trade data for minutes, executives from the firm told Mobile World Live.
“Users can also drag the slider bar in the mobile app or on the website to adjust how much data and minutes they need and see what it will cost them,” said Andy Tiller, vice president, corporate product marketing with AsiaInfo.
This gives them much more flexibility than operators typically offer in the west, he said.
Edward Tian, AsiaInfo’s founder and executive chairman, believes “the software business is a global business”. He said in the past software has played a limited role for the telecom industry, and network equipment and specialised hardware have been given more importance. But now software is becoming more and more central.
Tiller elaborated by explaining that telecommunication IT platforms can do a lot of things for OTT companies. For instance, instead of having to sign up for a monthly subscription to movie streaming or music services, users can buy a day pass.
“That’s something OTT can only do with a telco partner,” Tiller remarked.
Another example is sponsored data, such as that offered by AT&T, which enables companies to sponsor data usage for specific content so that users don’t have to use data from their personal package to access it.
“Everyone in the west wonders if it can be a success, but it already is one in China. In fact, it has gone beyond the basic idea that the content owner sponsors the data so the customer doesn’t have to pay for it – it has evolved into data being a credible currency, and a reward,” said Tiller.
AsiaInfo claims to supply more than half of the telecom IT software and services in the Chinese market.
As for future plans, Tian said AsiaInfo wants to attract the best talent globally and, following a successful partnership with Telenor in Europe, want to finds more international partners to work with.
His main criteria for a partner is someone who shares AsiaInfo’s vision, with whom the company can “take risks together and transform together”.
Tian also believes that in the future, “big data will be a huge area for us” because data will become a tradable commodity just like physical goods or stocks.