Thoughts on the Mobile Market in Trinidad & Tobago

The advancement of technology and services in the mobile space is moving at breakneck speed. We have already kicked 2011 with a bang, well, at least in the developed markets like the United States and Europe, which we must concede, has a direct effect on our own mobile economies. In just the first couple of months of this year we have already seen a new wave of handsets and tablets at CES 2011, Apple’s Announcement of their blockbuster iPhone product on Verizon’s Mobile Network, Google Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) launch and the mad “gold rush” of vendors and consumers towards the Android ecosystem, Nokia decision to make Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 their primary OS, Mobile phone processors have gone dual and soon quad core, Microsoft’s demo of their “next” Windows OS running on ARM processors … and so much more …

I recently tweeted and posted on an article written by one of my former bosses, Bevil Wooding, a local technology professional whose opinion I value and respect on the emergence or the very least the opportunity for the emergence of the “Caribbean Mobile Market” (Read the full article here). Bevil highlighted the exponential growth of the global mobile market, some recent statistics of local and regional mobile penetration (140% in Trinidad & Tobago alone) and the creativity and colorful culture of the region. To these I would venture to add increased computer literacy and use across the board, affordable fixed broadband services and the availability of quick and easy IT infrastructure like Cloud services, I think the environment is ripe with opportunity for the region to take advantage of these new trends and offer up content and create technology targeted specifically to our needs and to represent ourselves through new channels to the rest of the world.

Reports from the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) show mobile voice subscriptions with mobile internet service have grown by 72% from June 2009 to June 2010. While this is so, this value only represents 6.8% of the Trinidad and Tobago mobile subscriber base. Other data highlights another very interesting fact, the Trinidad and Tobago mobile market is heavily biased to prepaid mobile subscriptions which may contribute to the low uptake of mobile internet services. Only 179, 066 of the country’s 1,839,695 total mobile subscribers are postpaid customers.

In my personal opinion however, while there are many factors that may be contributing to this low uptake in mobile services, I am continually observing and trending towards a few of specific reasons.

  1. A clearly defined roadmap for Mobile Internet/Broadband by local/regional telecom companies
  2. Lack Telecoms aggressively seeking partnerships with smart phone manufacturers to create bundles bringing down the prices of handsets and locking in customers with creative and competitive mobile subscriber packages

 

 

[This post is unfinished – it was supposed to be posted in Draft, but since it is already partially here, I shall leave this up until it is completed]

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