Mobile payment software outfit RGK Mobile assured Faultline Online Reporter a huge deal with Malaysian operator Axiata was prepped to hit the wires last week at Mobile World Congress. A poorly timed delay meant RGK Mobile’s moment in the limelight in Barcelona wasn’t to be, but the company was allowed to unveil the deal this week, revealing Axiata Group subsidiary Axiata Digital has integrated the Spanish start-up’s cloud-based technology to launch new services for XL in Indonesia and Dialog in Sri Lanka. The deployment signals the rapid rise of RGK Mobile in under 4 years, as the company gave us an insight into the explosive mobile market in Asia.
Saturated markets mean telcos are investigating innovations in various guises, while OTT video services are increasingly seen as the most lucrative add on to an existing mobile ecosystem, particularly in South East Asia. Axiata is adding RGK Mobile software to its APIGate gateway service, to bring premium content services including Wellness, LetMeDance and SunnyGam to Dialog and XL subscribers – as well as handling local customer support.
RGK Mobile was unable to dish the dirt on the reason for its Axiata announcement delay, but CCO Gil Regev explained to Faultline Online Reporter at MWC last week the deployment has been 100% ready to go for a while – hinting the set-back was a result of Axiata Group rather than any technical issue. This is not unusual for an operator of this size, serving 46.5 million subscribers in Indonesia alone, from a total of 320 million subs across 10 countries – so not a simple integration process by any stretch of the imagination.
The deployment is similar to what RGK Mobile recently supplied to Bharti Airtel in India, serving some 282 million subscribers, and other major customers – plugging the RGK Engine directly into an operator’s billing system in order to open up new revenue streams.
Regev added that the RGK Engine is more than a mobile payment services platform, it handles content management (although Regev insisted this is very different from a traditional CMS as we know it), and the software also spans to content creation, marketing and fraud protection.
The RGK Engine is a SaaS suite providing a dashboard for monitoring KPIs, combining an affiliate marketing platform and user acquisition tools, with multi-lingual capabilities and cross-platform interfaces. The RGK Engine is the work horse behind what the company calls its Virtual Mobile Content Provider service, a white-label toolkit and framework to essentially allow operators to launch new mobile content services – be it video streaming, gaming, utilities, sports, dating, dancing or health.
The SaaS suite integrates directly with an operator’s existing management systems and is fully automated, meaning no additional IT support, and allowing for implementation of data center bridging on a turnkey basis.
Vodafone, Swisscom and Deutsche Telekom in Europe have all signed up, although Regev could not talks specific details on each deployment, nor whether its deployments at Vodafone and DT are across the board or siloed into specific territories. He did note Swisscom took an extremely long time, with most major operators taking months to roll out.
Asia, meanwhile, is much more eager, according to Regev, predicting a continued surge in mobile content services across Asia, spearheaded by the lucrative Indian market, which mirrors findings from our own Rethink TV Asia OTT forecast. To this end, although pricing differs by market, Regev expects Asia to overtake Europe as RGK Mobile’s largest market.
Regev noted that RGK isn’t limited to operators, with YouTube “influencers” also a target area, mentioning a popular fitness channel which is viewed in 42 countries. In fact, a few vendors in the OTT video space told us at MWC about recently winning deployments for fitness channels on YouTube, profiting from a mobile video boom combined with the fitness influx in the post-Christmas period.
Regev’s big claim at MWC was that not even Netcracker offers such a broad suite as RGK Mobile and the company has seen operators attempt in-house versions of what it offers, with inferior results. If RGK Mobile puts as much effort into its software as it does with blog posts, then we project a prosperous future for the fledgling firm.
RGK Mobile’s assessment of MWC 2018 was similar to our own. “This year’s most prominent topics, at MWC, were without a doubt 5G networks and AR technologies, both aligning greatly with RGK’s own efforts to progress mobile into a new era. 5G is set to change mobile usage habits. We are about to enter an era where mobile content, and most significantly video streaming, is becoming a leading player, with an ever-improved infrastructure, speed and user demand. While forcing operators, mobile marketers and entertainment companies to change and adjust their business models and technologies, I’m convinced that we are in the right direction to really cater to a new generation, which consumes media solely through its handheld devices, finally making mobile into the unique, on-the-go, personal experience it has promised to be,” said a statement from RGK Mobile CEO, Roman Taranov, following MWC.
Commenting on the Axiata deployment, Taranov said, ”Asia has always been at the forefront of offering mobile content. Now Axiata Digital is moving beyond traditional content providers and taking things into its own hands, controlling both distribution, payment and marketing.”