Jamaica Magazine

mCommerce Boom brewing in JAMAICA

Written by Ingrid Riley

We now have Mcommerce here in Jamaica, thanks to two innovative young entrepreneurs Damion Daley and Stephen Spence.

I heard about the MBanking at the CARIMAC Unconference at Cuddyz Sports Bar in Kingston. Stephen Spence, CEO of SMS Communications and Young Entrepreneur of Jamaica awardee 2007 gave a lightening talk which could easily have been titled…Texting is King. It’s Stephen’s defacto mantra and he’s passionate now as he was when I first met him two years ago.He’s already have a successful and fast growing business mobile marketing business offering small to large businesses the value added service of being able to use SMS/text messaging for communicating with their customers to send reminders, alerts, launch loyalty programmes and more. Now he’s branched out and is right now testing Mbanking services with RBTT and Scotiabank. So soon Jamaican customers will be able to check their bank balances and pay their bills using their cellphones.

Mobile MOneyThen there is Damion Daley, young software developer who will launch a host of Mcommerce services next month. He gave a little preview to local media on the weekend and revealed his Mobile Money service. With Mobile Money, users will be able to purchase goods and services via SMS, in the same manner that pre-paid mobile platforms now allow “credit” (paid for minutes) to be sent, sold and bought. It’s what is called global as having an mWallet. With his service users will also be able to transfer funds, withdraw from ATMs and track your transactions.Mobile Advertising Additionally, another mobile marketing company will launch next month that will allow any local,regional and international companies to send deals, discounts and special offers to potential customers who’ve signed up saying yes they want to receive them. The service will enable savvy shoppers and budget-conscious consumers to get special offers and save money when they are dining out, shopping or for entertainment such as parties, CDs, DVDs, electronics and cellphones. So anyconsumer will be able to sign up and indicate what kind of deal and special offers they want to receive and advertisers can then sign up to send them these special offers and deals using SMS/text messaging . “ They get to target an audience who wants to hear from them at affordable rates much cheaper than newspaper, radio or TV advertising,” one of the principals told SiliconCaribe.com.What’s driving all this ?Jamaica has a 94% mobile penetration rate and it’s primarily a prepaid market. Add to this, is the fact that the handset stock is not super sophisticated as yet, so SMS/texting and talking rules with MMS and data services represents only about 15% of the total market. Further, in that mobile market, the 18-35 premium market dominates which lends itself to a lot of SMS/text messaging value added services.

 

 

SiliconCaribe was launched on September 7, 2007 by Ingrid Riley, award-winning investigative journalist and publisher now new media consultant and technology entrepreneur. She serves as editor and leads a small passionate team located in Jamaica, Trinidad, Eastern Caribbean and New York. Our homebase is Kingston, Jamaica.

About the author

Ingrid Riley