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zMessenger, Sri Lanka’s largest mobile marketing solutions provider will bring together top brand leaders from FMCG, hospitality, banking and financial services to the Island’s first roundtable on mobile marketing scheduled for Thursday, 30th October, 2014

The event titled Embracing Mobile Mind Shift – Mobile Moments are the Frontline of Customer Experience will look at the impact of rapidly increasing mobile connectivity on customer expectations.

“Mobile phones are proving to be an effective and affordable marketing channel and in the face of this mobile boom, customers are in the midst of a total mind shift. Their expectations have changed. Whilst they have lost interest in a marketing message, they now demand utility and they expect it now. We thought its timely to focus on how brand leaders across different industries understand this shift and respond to it by creating mobile moments that would transform customer experience and supply them with mobile utility,” Jayomi Lokuliyana, Co-Founder and CEO of zMessenger said.

The roundtable will see expert panelists Siddharth Banerjee, Country Marketing Director – Unilever Sri Lanka, Tharanga Gunasekera, Head of Marketing and Communications – HSBC Sri Lanka, Mangala Wickramasinghe, Head of e-Banking Services –  HNB and Co-Founder of the Ministry of Crab and Kaema Sutra restaurants, Dharshan Munidasa addressing the gathering on diverse topics spanning from customer engagement to delivery of financial services through mobile phones and the power of mobile context to mobile services in the hospitality sector.

The mobile marketing roundtable will also highlight and profile various ground-breaking mobile marketing efforts of ‘new-age’ corporate such as Unilever Sri Lanka, a driver of effective marketing.

zMessenger is an award winning integrated mobile media company that offers a wide range of solutions from planning, creating and execution of effective marketing campaigns, branded communication applications and content distribution strategies.

zMessenger that first introduced SMS based applications to local media stations also enjoy a leading position in the overall ‘new media’ marketing space for digital. It is also the only mobile marketing services solution provider in Sri Lanka.

The company recently launched Bigbon, a mobile app that allows customers to pick and choose the best deals offered by credit cards, loyalty cards and favorite retailers and restaurants. Bigbon which is completely customizable allows users to explore the deals at a specific location by turning on the “Augmented Reality” feature which displays a list of deals in close proximity to the user. The app also generates a report offering merchants an insight into customer preferences.

“With the journey we’ve come so far, it’s only benefitting for zMessenger to hold the country’s first ever Mobile Marketing Roundtable. We believe that this endevour will help broaden our horizons and consolidate our position in the Island,” Lokuliyana said.

Event is invite only but will be live streamed via MMRColombo.

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Bharti Airtel, the world’s fourth largest telecom operator by subscribers, is in advanced discussions to sell off its Sri Lankan operations to Abu Dhabi’s Etisalat, said two persons aware of the development.

According to one such person, Standard Chartered Bank is advising the Indian company in the transaction. Bharti AirtelBSE -2.60 % Lanka, which has a subscriber base of 1.7 million, has been valued between $110 million and $130 million. Etisalat is Sri Lanka’s third-largest operator with 4.5 million subscribers and it will move up to the second spot if the deal goes through.

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Responding to a questionnaire on the sale of its operations to Etisalat, Airtel said as a policy it didn’t respond to market speculations. Standard Chartered declined comment while Etisalat could not be reached for comments. Sri Lanka reportedly has an addressable mobile market of about 22 million, with penetration levels of around 85%.

“In a country like Sri Lanka, an operator has to be either the largest or the second-largest to make money,” said the second person aware of the development, while explaining why the deal was important for the Abu Dhabibased operator. Airtel’s growth prospects in the island nation, on the other hand, were limited as it just had 1.7 million subscribers.

The company’s subscribers have not grown in the past four quarters and despite investing over $300 million since 2007, the unit continues to make losses. “The Sri Lankan operation has been a cash guzzler for Bharti,” said the first person.

While Bharti Airtel doesn’t report the financial numbers for Sri Lanka separately, sources told ET that the company had posted revenue of Rs 320 crore for the quarter ended June 2013 and a net loss of Rs 190 crore.

The company, which entered the Sri Lankan market in 2009 as the country’s fifth operator, offers 2G, 3G and 3.5G services in the island nation across all the 25 districts and it has built a distributor network of 40,500 retailers.

With a small population, the Sri Lankan market turned out to be a difficult game for India’s largest telecom operator whose foray had begun with stiff resistance from the local operators in 2009.

Fearing the size and scale of Airtel’s operations, incumbent operators had resisted giving interconnection to it, a trouble which later resolved. Airtel’s operations were later mired in controversy as it tried to launch a price war in the market, which was later thwarted by the telecom regulator for being anti-competitive.

(Source: The Economic Times)

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Airtel’s frontline strategies and market instincts were commended once again when the Airtel sales team won the silver award for the Best Territory Manager at the prestigious NASCO awards (one of the main events of the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing’s calendar), which recognises sales excellence by rewarding some of the best sales personnel in the country .
Bharti Airtel Lanka, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, announced that Chandana Nanayakkara, Territory Manager for Wellawatte and Maharagama, won the silver award for the Best Territory manager under the telecommunication category at the recently concluded SLIM NASCO Awards 2013.

Commenting on this achievement, Suren Goonewardene, CEO/MD of Bharti Airtel Lanka, said: “We are extremely proud that we were able to gain this award for the second consecutive year and sustain our position at a national level. We sincerely hope that this success will motivate all sales personnel across various markets to strive for sales excellence.  “This accolade is indeed a reflection of enhanced market instincts and dynamic sales strategies that Airtel incorporates in a highly competitive and ever changing marketing environment. I offer my congratulations to Chandana and look forward to seeing his continuous professional excellence in the field of sales.”

SLIM NASCO 2013, the premier event in Sri Lanka that recognises sales excellence and rewards and motivates sales professionals to achieve greater heights, gave out awards to over 13 industrial categories and all area managers, sales executives, sales representatives and front-liners were entitled to participate. The event saw over 240 participants vying for honours this year.
Bharti Airtel Lanka commenced commercial operations of services in Sri Lanka in 2009 and was the fastest operator to reach one million customers in Sri Lanka. With its network footprint panned out across the country and capturing strategic ranking positions in various areas in less than three years of operations, Airtel has emerged as Sri Lanka’s fastest expanding network.
Registered under the Board of Investment in Sri Lanka, Airtel Lanka provides digital mobile services into Sri Lanka which includes voice telephony, voice mail, data services and GSM based services.  The company has also received accreditations such as ISO 27001:2005 and ISO 22301 for its continuous efforts towards information security and business continuity.