Internet media leader Yahoo announced on Tuesday a host of mobile Web initiatives to drive data usage on cellphones and tap the growing mobile advertising market. With the new initiatives that include tie-ups with telecom companies and voice-based Internet search for Indian-accented English, Yahoo aims to capture a majority of the 27 million mobile data users in India.
“We want to be the starting point for mobile Internet usage,” said David Ko, Managing Director and Vice President at Yahoo Asia.
The company announced tie-ups with six new service providers including MTNL, Hong CSL Limited, Smart Communications and Sun Cellular in the Philippines and Vibo Telecom in Taiwan for its mobile-based search service oneSearch. Yahoo has similar tie-ups with about 60 operators globally including Reliance Communications, Idea Cellular, BSNL, Aircel, BPL and Spice in India.
The new partnerships will give Yahoo an access to over 600 million mobile subscribers worldwide. Yahoo also announced advertising partnerships with Idea Cellular and Malaysia’s Maxis Communications where Yahoo’s banner ads will be displayed across respective service provider portals.
“The mobile opportunity is not in the future, it is happening today, happening now,” said Ko. According to experts, the size of the mobile advertising market
globally is estimated to be worth $4 billion (Rs 16,000 crore) and is expected to grow to $ 14-16 billion (Rs 56,000-Rs 64,000 crore) by 2011. “Just like content, there is a long
tail of advertising too and the mobile phone is emerging as the most engrossing user platform,” said Manish Dalal, Senior Director – Broadband & Mobile Products, Yahoo India.
Yahoo also introduced voice-based search service in India and Singapore. Indian English accent supported search will be available in India on specific BlackBerry handsets to begin with. “We are trying to create scale for mobile Internet usage with more localised content,” said Ko.