If you’re a hip Russian twenty-something and want to leave your one-room apartment and still continue your conversation, you’re more than likely socially connected with Mobile Instant Messaging (IM). Mobile IM has become an essential feature for many young adults in Russia and Megafon, the third largest mobile phone provider in Russia, plans to become the kingpin in the mobile market through this technology.
Megafon wants to capitalize on this emerging young adult market through their partnership with NeuStar’s Interconnect platform to create its own branded services. Megafon’s competitors offer mobile IM service, but Megafon will have the ability to be interconnected with their competitors.
Currently, mobile advertising isn’t available through Megafon’s IM platform, but there are a vast amount of opportunities that exist. Clearly, marketers will be attracted to the targeted audience which creates the possibility of click-to-call integration and mobile coupon buddy referrals. As more individuals obtain smartphones and the economy improves experts believe Russia will become more consumer focused culture where mobile advertising will have greater potential for marketers.
In the interim, like a wise Mafia organization, Megafon is offering IM for free…”for a period of time,” to get the customer hooked before it is “monetized by a monthly subscription fee.”
I guess the only good thing is they won’t cut off your fingers if you can’t pay, but you may lose a toe.