MobileMonday, the networking organisation for professionals in the mobile space, will officially launch its South African chapter in Johannesburg on 20 April.
MobileMonday is a global community of mobile industry visionaries, developers and other influential people that fosters cooperation and cross-border business development through virtual and live networking events. It is at regularly-organised events that they share ideas, best practices and trends from global markets.
According to Daniel Torras, a co-founder of MobileMonday South Africa and a principal at Delta Partners, the MobileMonday phenomenon began almost by accident back in 2000.
"A couple of well-known ex-Nokia employees invited the who's who of the Finnish mobile industry for an informal get-together, and the only suitable time was a Monday evening. After meeting many new faces and discussing the latest in mobility, the group decided to continue meeting on the first Monday of each month – thus, MobileMonday, or MoMo, was born," he says.
Towards the end of 2004, the movement started to spread to other areas of the world, and new MoMo chapters were started in Tokyo, Japan, the US and Italy.
"Since then, around 67 MoMo chapters have been founded around the world, with the South African chapter being one of the latest additions to this growing network. And if you ask me, it's about time it came to South Africa."
The South African chapter of MoMo is the brainchild of Torras; Toni Eliasz, executive director at Ungana Afrika; Dylan Piatti, creative director at Cellsmart and Teemu Kiijärvi, southern Africa partner for Mobiletools International.
With so much activity making headlines in South Africa and elsewhere throughout the continent, the African mobile market is one of the most vibrant and dynamic areas of worldwide telecommunications today, says Torras.
"The local mobile market is packed with many innovators and start-up companies that are doing some very interesting things in the mobile space. And this will serve as the inspiration for the inaugural event's theme – Mobile in Africa: Current state and future possibilities," he says.
Particularly relevant to the African context is the challenge of delivering cost-effective and locally relevant mobile services to people at the base of the pyramid, while still maintaining a profitable business for mobile operators. In addition, the proliferation of mobile broadband is another key growth area in Africa, where mobile coverage and penetration far exceeds fixed-line operators. Analysts expect as much as 50% of broadband access on the African continent to be from mobile devices in the next two to three years.