Mobility 2006: Leon Perlman-Mobility Commerce -Challenges and Opportunities

Mobile Commerce Markets and Regulatory Trends!The Wireless Application Services of South Africa was formed in August 2004 with the aim of monitoring developments in the mobile industry and to engage policy makers on issues affecting the Wireless industry. There are about 2.5 billion global users of mobile,with the fastest growth being in China with almost 300 million users. In Africa, South Africa has 30 million users and Nigeria has 23 million with 80 % prepaid users. The majority of users use mostly SMS text and voice. But of far more interesting is the fact that , there has been growing ‘mobile convergence’ with some using Wifi, Scanners, Bluetooth, TV, iPod, and others.

However, there has been successful WASP in South Africa paving a way for the emergence of new debates and interactive consultations on regulations. These WASP in South Africa include iTouch, Airborne, Exactmobile, worldplay, marketel, cointel, Viamedia, cell find, Grapevine, Clicktell, Bulksms, and others-yet in 2006 newcomers are Zed, Vibramoul, and Jamster (inter)-changing the faces of consumer interactions. Regulatory regimes- there are two kinds of regulations, namely hard regulation and soft or light-touch regulation. Hard regulations are national laws often rigid , less flexible and not up to date with the changing technological landscape. Soft regulation are industry self-regulations manly in the United States of America (USA) or Australia. Apart from these two form of regulations, there are other laws that indirectly affect the mobile industry, these laws are the Lotteries Act, the Gambling Act (‘illegal competition’)

Other related laws includes the Telecommunications Act of 1999, ICASA Act of 2005, the new Electronic Communications and Transactions Act of 2005, the Film and Publications Amendment Bill, and the Consumer Protection Bill.