WASPA’s Top Ten After Ten Years
The Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA) celebrates ten years of self-regulating the mobile content and applications industry today (Tuesday, 26 August 2014).
From 31 members at the 2004 founding aimed at better regulating the then fledgling wireless content and applications industry, WASPA in 2014 has 275 members with a 60/40 split between full and affiliate members.
Now that WASPA’s been buzzing around the mobile industry for ten years, let’s take a look at the top ten achievements of this self-regulating mobile industry association:
- The buy-in of South Africa’s cellular network operators in 2004 regarding the need to self-regulate the burgeoning mobile content and applications industry breathed life into the fledgling WASPA.
- Making WASPA membership compulsory for WASPs wanting to offer mobile services to the country’s cellular users gave WASPA the authority it needed to start clamping down on the errant firms whose questionable marketing practices threatened to derail the industry.
- The drafting of the very first Code of Conduct laid the foundation for an effective self-regulating body built on legal principles that were blind to fear or favour.
- Related to the above, the development of the independent adjudication process that makes use of qualified ICT lawyers added legitimacy and gravitas to Code of Conduct enforcement.
- The appointment of WASPA’s Media Monitor helped drive home the message that the Association was not going to tolerate violations of the Code of Conduct and Advertising Rules in its quest to become a responsible self-regulating body.
- WASPA’s growth in membership from the handful of original founding members to the over 275 full and affiliate members ten years later illustrates the coming of age of an organisation now firmly viewed as representing the interests of the WASP industry.
- WASPA is recognised as a ‘Not for Profit’ organisation following registration with the Department of Social Services.
- The stability of WASPA’s leadership has seen only two Chairmen serve at its helm during WASPA’s first decade of existence. In addition, many current management committee members are longtime WASPA office bearers.
- The double opt-in mechanism whereby consumers are twice requested to confirm their mobile services subscription requests is possibly the greatest consumer protection mechanism devised by WASPA in collaboration with the mobile network operators.
- Finally, the fact that WASPA continues to operate according to its self-regulating mandate speaks to the enormous degree of trust invested in it by WASPs, the mobile networks, government and millions of end mobile users who continue to rely on WASPA to safeguard their interests.