Partner Profile: The GSM Association
Collaborating with the trade association representing the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry
If you are planning to promote and scale a mobile service of any kind there are few better partners than the GSM Association. The Groupe Spécial Mobile Association (GSMA) represents the interests of the global mobile communications industry and thus is one of the most influential organizations on the planet. Almost every mobile network operator in the world can be counted among its members, and its annual gathering in Spain called Mobile World Congress attracts more than 100,000 people who all descend on Barcelona for a single event.
Years before we ever envisioned Fishcoin as an incentive for capturing and communicating data for the seafood industry, our team was already exploring mobile airtime top-ups as an incentive for small-scale fishers and fish farmers because it is one of the few digital touch points that are ubiquitous throughout the world. If you survey a prawn farm in Indonesia it is likely that none of the farmers will have bank accounts, some might not even have IDs, but everyone will have at least one SIM card — and almost all will be using pre-paid mobile plans. The world’s seafood producing nations such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, etc. are all still primarily pre-paid mobile markets, particularly in the rural areas so pre-paid airtime top-ups are highly relevant in these markets.
For most of us who live in post-paid mobile markets we tend to think of the money we spend on our mobile data like we do a utility payment — I pay my water bill each month so my sink will turn on, and I also pay for my mobile airtime so I can talk with my friends, connect with co-workers and surf the internet. It is an entirely different paradigm in pre-paid mobile markets, where users pay for their mobile usage up front and then see their balance drain down like the gas gauge on their car. This is the situation in many emerging markets, these same markets where most of our seafood is harvested. In these markets users see mobile airtime like a currency tied directly back to the money they spent to purchase airtime in the first place.
While we are already connected to more than 600 mobile operators through our wholesale partner, our vision is to go well beyond and to align with the interests of the many mobile network operators that, whether they know it or not, are stakeholders in the seafood industry because of the data that can be transferred across their networks. This brings us to the GSMA.
Who is the GSM Association (from their website)
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with over 350 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.
Why are they Fishcoin partners
Having lived in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest pre-paid markets, for more than 5 years, while working for one of the largest mobile operators in Southeast Asia, I have seen firsthand the value of mobile data to users, particularly those at the base of the economic pyramid such as fishers in rural areas. In such areas mobile network operators use airtime rates as a way to incentivize behavior change by doing things like providing discounts to users who can utilize their network during off-peak hours. The concept of incentivizing behavior change is central to the Fishcoin network as we are working to incentivize fishers to capture and communicate data alongside their catch.
Our team has already participated in multiple events with GSMA members and leadership, including their annual board meeting at MWC Americas where we provided seafood for the event, and their Mobile360 Event in Bangkok where Alistair Douglas from our team was on a panel along with Darian McBain from Thai Union and representatives from SecondMuse and True Telecom (see the GSMA Mobile360 Blog for more). We are already in discussions about further initiatives that add value to the seafood industry, align with the UN Global Goals and provide sustainable and profitable opportunities for mobile network operators around the world.
Interested in becoming a Fishcoin partner?
Companies and organizations throughout the seafood industry are signing up almost daily to be rollout partners in the Fishcoin ecosystem. If you would like to know more about joining our community of partners please read through our white paper, and contact our team.