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The Life of Maaii

Zafar Anjum | June 26, 2012
Maaii, a newly launched socially enriched cross-platform mobile app, has seen major traction in Southeast Asia, China and the Middle East. Its vice president Chris Lewis describes its appeal.

1)      Maaii leverages the voice engine technology from SPIRIT DSP. They are the leading VoIP engine provider in the World and only the truly high-end VoIP services typically use this.

2)      Maaii has several social & in-call enhancements that differentiate us from the rest. The maaiiME function where users can share image and video content peer-to-peer during the call is a prime example.

3)      Maaii also differs in its approach to market by focusing on three areas:

a.       The direct-to-consumer app targeting users directly.

b.      Our open developer platform for third parties to embed maaii communications functions within their own applications.

c.       Our hosted platform (cloud) solution for operators & ISPs to bring their own branded OTT voice apps to market and which run on Maaii's global,  partitioned infrastructure.

Mobile carriers are waking up to the challenge of VOIP as they are losing money. How are you going to face this challenge?

I think operators have been aware of this challenge for some time. What we do is provide a no-CAPEX hosted cloud solution for operators to go-to-market with their own branded smartphone communications apps. By doing so they can more competently retain engagement with their subscriber base, direct them towards own branded OTT services (bypassing WhatsApp, Viber or Skype) and so continue to monetise with no cannibalisation of core services (SMS & Roaming) In that sense it really is a no brainer for an operator or ISP to consider us as an enabler of subscriber retention, with opportunities for the operator to generate new revenues sources through in-app engagement and continued mobile content monetisation.

Is it justified for mobile carriers to charge app makers like you for using their platforms/pipes? Aren't they there just to provide the dumb pipe?

The subscriber pays to access services and content. I don't see how an additional charge for app developers could be justified or implemented. The reality is that the access provider must evolve his business model as ISPs have done in the past. The added complexity is that operators must offset their huge CAPEX by moving beyond voice and messaging and into other high margin models (read SingTel's acquisition of Amobee) other operators have done, and are doing, the same. What Maaii does is give the operator an alternative. An alternative based on the premise that richer engagement with end-users will reap richer dividends for the operator across the board. Our "richer engagement" is delivered through a series of smartphone apps and related services that any operator can rebrand and deploy locally. It's a no-CAPEX discussion which many of the operators we are talking to at the moment seem to be delighted with.


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