Mideast SMS services worth $5bn


Short messaging service-based services have touched $5 billion (Dh18bn) in the Middle East and the UAE contributes 20 per cent to this revenue.
SMS services are used for direct marketing, sharing information on retail, stock markets and news.
Mukul Shyam, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Valuefirst Middle East, said: “The UAE has the highest penetration in terms of mobile subscribers and therefore mobile applications and development on the SMS platform has taken off. We are a MVNO [mobile virtual network operator] for the enterprise segment and specifically for data. Therefore, we provide SMS-based services on the available telecom networks.”
The company has just launched its directory service called Getinfo in the UAE along with Silicon Valley-based software development company vMobo.
“We have been working on this solution for the past two years and with the high penetration of mobiles in the country it was the right location for the launch. We have worked on other kinds of applications for the enterprise, but on mobile this is the first time,” said Shyam.
The service allows location and keyword specific search. For instance, a mobile user who needs information on Italian restaurants in Bur Dubai can send an SMS saying ‘Italian restaurants Bur Dubai’ to 4727 and get a list of such outlets in the neighbourhood of choice and the deals and value the merchants offer to win business, a facility that is unique in the market.
Mobile users could also sign up to Getinfo via a portal and subscribe for promotional deals of choice. Consumers will receive offers of their choice, unlike in the case of spam.
Shyam said that the company plans to expand the service by offering stock quotes, news and such information in the next phase of the service.


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