Opera’s Web Pass Offers Service Providers Internet Monetization Opportunities via Bite Sized Plans and Sponsored Data

Prushothma Rao, PCC Mobile Broadband’s founder, CEO and telecommunications senior expert spoke to Jan Standal, VP of Product Partnerships, Opera and Praveen Rajan, Head of Products - Internet & Services, Digi Communications, Malaysia on the recent release of Opera’s Sponsored Web Pass .  

Opera, which started with browser services, has recently made a huge move into the digital advertising space, with its Sponsored Web Pass. The Sponsored Web Pass was developed through a series of initiatives sparked by Opera’s drive to increase Internet access for the world population, especially for the emerging markets. The Sponsored Web Pass is also part of Opera’s foray into the digital advertising space, spearheaded by its subsidiary, Opera Media Works.

According to Jan Standal, the vice president of product partnership at Opera, the Sponsored Web Pass enables operators to offer free Internet to users by collaborating with ‘sponsors’ to Jan Standel, VP of Product Partnership, Opera who can then push advertisements and other sponsored content such as surveys, social media links and others to increase brand awareness and disseminate product and service information to their target markets.

The Sponsored Web Pass follows its predecessor, the Opera Web Pass that allows operators, especially in areas with low internet penetration rates to offer access to Internet via its Opera Mini browser with basic packages such as a day or a week pass. According to Jan, while other experimental packages are being constructed and rolled out to meet the dynamic demand in the market, such as content specific packages (e.g. 30 minutes of facebook), the basic packages are already helping a huge number of users to access the Internet at discounted rates and those charges are then consolidated into their existing mobile billing.

A Case Study – Digi Communications, Malaysia


Digi Communications, which is part of the Telenor Group, has partnered with Opera to offer Opera Web Pass to its customers. Praveen Rajan, the head of product - Internet & services of Digi said that the Web Pass was offered to Digi’s subscribers in 2011 as part of their strategy to provide ‘basic Internet’ access, targeting customers with feature phones that come with limited capabilities.

With the proliferation of smart phones in the Malaysian mobile market, Praveen said that the Opera Web Pass evolved to become the choice of many smartphone users, with Android phone subscribers making up 60% of Digi’s Web Pass users. In terms of the overall market share, Digi customers make up 38% of Opera Mini users in the country, representing a slightly higher share compared to their subscriber numbers.Praveen Rajan, Head of Product and Internet Services, Digi Communications

According to Praveen, Opera Web Pass is offered today on two schemes. The first is via the bite-size data offers that range from 60 cents an hour to RM1 a day with other added options such as specific website access or a mix-and-match of several sites like Facebook and Twitter. The second is under the standard data package. For example, RM30 for prepaid 1Gb data that allows users to either top up with a short term data booster upon reaching the usage threshold or have continued unlimited Internet access via Opera Mini which combines its compression feature to deliver satisfactory browsing experience for users. The compression capability offered via Opera Mini avoids the sudden fall in Internet browsing quality often experienced by data users who reach their quota limits.

Praveen also added that the prepaid market makes up the biggest chunk of Opera’s Web Pass users, and in terms of their profiles, cost conscious users with smaller budgets and younger users in the 18-28 years age group take up a significant share. The younger user base corresponds to the type of content bundled in the Web Pass packages, where Facebook and Twitter are sites which are most commonly offered.  

As for the Sponsored Web Pass, Praveen said that Digi has plans to bring to market the service and has embarked on discussions with potential advertisers who can sponsor the initial roll-outs.  

In addition to Opera Mini and Opera Web Pass, Opera also offers the Opera Max, an application level solution that enables users to better control their Internet and data usage, by providing intelligent and real-time feedback and analytics on their online activities and data consumption. Jan highlighted that Opera’s acquisition of Skyfire has enabled the company to incorporate Skyfire’s compression technology to this service, permitting Opera Max to go beyond its usage management function to manage content delivery based on factors such as network congestion, ensuring that the positive user experience is maintained at all times.

The integration of Opera’s solution on a single handset is expected to enhance overall user access and experience, and coupled with its compression technology, will increase the efficiencies and costs on both ends; the user as well as the service provider.

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