CISL Thailand Offensive Taking Shape In Mobile Opportunity

CISL Thailand began doing business in Thailand in August 2004 and has already signed contracts with DTAC, Hutchinson, TA Orange and in December 2005 – with the biggest fish of them all – AIS.
      “Our business concept is to move more services to the mobile phone,” explains CEO Kenth Söderström of CISL Sweden on one of his frequent visits to Bangkok.
      The mobile device is already a camera and a music player. But what comes after MP3 files, ring tones, SMS and MMS? Think betting, purchases and reservations and the services could become endless. Having your flight ticket booked by mobile phone will already soon be a reality.
      “We constantly develop new fields of application or services that not only private persons will have as part of their leisure activities, but also things that you can use for a more practical purpose.”
      The reason for CISL’s Thailand venture, which is already apparently making profits, is not only to be here, but it also functions as a springboard into Asia, the ultimate goal of course being
China.
      “What most users do with their wireless tools is only in its infancy. The big business to come will materialise among the younger generations in a few years time. Today, very few are really using the
potential of their mobile phones. It has not reached very far yet,” Soderstrom says. “Right now, it is all about creating new habits among the users.
      “MMS is coming on strong and you can read email. Soon you will have everything – the possibilities are already there, but not the behaviour. It takes some time before ordinary people realise the potential for the different services we offer,” he reckons.
      “For example, ordering your airline ticket through your mobile phone – how safe is that? It is very much generation-related. Those ‘born’ with mobile phones will become the biggest users of
mobile services. They already have the behaviour and will consume the most mobile content within a five year period. There is nothing else for them. Not having the service on the mobile would for them be weird. For older people, it is much more uncertain.”
      The Swedish CEO, with a background at Ericsson among others, thinks the country’s
mobile phone users are at the forefront of the development.
      “The trends are different for sure. In general you can say Asia, the region, has been ahead of Europe for a while regarding rolling out services and mobile useage. Now I think Europe has caught up.”
      The Thai mobile communications market has been developing at a feverish pace, even if 3G or third generation networks have yet to be delivered.
      “Everybody wants 3G rolled out all the way. Then, with much better computer transfer speed, everything would go much faster. It has been put at a disadvantage, to first be released when there
were no services, and with people trying something that hardly works.”
      In late 2005, CISL Thailand signed an agreement with Hutchinson to provide CISL’s 2G WAP platform.
      “Our collaboration with Hutchinson has now entered the second phase, where we are given increased responsibility. We are one of four content providers which have been entrusted this way,” says Söderström.
      Furthermore, they will provide system solutions to Siemens in Thailand under a contract worth 11.4 Million SEK. More recently, in December 2005, CISL Thailand agreed with AIS to launch ArenaM within their network, a platform where end users can download different content including ring tones, music and the like.
      “We now have contracts with all the major players on the Thai market which means that we reach nearly 27 million subscribers with our WAP and SMS services,” says the Swedish CEO with a big smile.
      “The local operators’ increased interest in companies like ours that can provide complete solutions strengthens and confirms our strategy.”
      “Now we are positioned in two of the most rapidly expanding business segments you can find in our business – gambling/betting and our systems for mobile services. And with our new
leg in Thailand it is very inspiring. Future prospects seem to be very good.”
      However, with restrictions on betting in Thailand, CISL Group cannot launch that side of their product range here, but they are following developments carefully and have ongoing high-level discussions.
      “I think it is just a question of time before technology wins against legislation. Reality can be much faster,” Söderström believes, and describes how anyone can access a WAP page for betting in London for example right now.

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