Despite challenges mobile VAS set to grow powered by 3G and rural expansion in 2012

By Telecom Lead Team: Indian mobile VAS
industry faces several challenges. Despite the hurdles, the mobile VAS industry
is poised for further growth in 2012. The growth will come from 3G roll outs
and expansion of mobile services in rural areas.

India as a nation
poses great opportunity for MVAS ecosystem and we are in the right place at
right time. It’s about bringing empowerment to rural and down trodden segments
of India through MVAS. Health, education, infrastructure, banking, commerce,
hygiene, sanitation, law and agriculture are the fields where VAS players can
grab immense business opportunities. However, major challenges before MVAS in
India are infrastructure, availability of funds (viable commercial model) and
adequate legal support,” said Sunil Dutt, managing director, Research in Motion
India, while addressing the VAS India 2012.

Despite last year’s
slow down in the mobile VAS space in India, refreshed investment flows from the
industry players is going to drive the growth for sector.

government agenda, compliant regulatory regime along with collaboration in the
ecosystem. We have 160 percent mobile penetration in urban India as compared to
36 percent in rural India. Still, rural segment of the nation has an impressive
household mobile penetration,” said Siddharth Vishwanath, executive director,

M-Health, M-Banking
and M-Governance are the 3 major areas which have tremendous opportunities in
MVAS space. M-Health may not prove immensely beneficial in terms of generating
revenues, but it’s not only about making money and the main focus of industry
must be towards offering adequate medical help to the people deprived of that.”
He added, M-Health has vast opportunities with statistics indicating merely 6
doctors available in India per 10,000 people against a global parameter of 22
doctors for the same number of citizens. M-Health can deliver societal gains by
bridging gaps in healthcare access and enhancing health outcomes,” Siddharth

Other participants
include RK Agarwal, director, Consumer Mobility, BSNL; Peeyush Agrawal,
executive director, MTNL, Mumbai; Rajan S Mathews, director General, COAI; S P
Narayanan, senior vice president, VAS & M-Commerce, Idea Cellular; and
Jonathan Bill, senior vice president, Internet & Data Services, Vodafone.

MVAS fraternity is
facing challenges around the world. We have observed that in the telecom markets
around the globe, the growth of Mobile VAS has been inversely proportional to
the growth of Mobile Internet. Thus, content developers must come up with the
services most relevant for the Indian users in their own languages,” said
Jonathan Bill of Vodafone.

Availability and
adoption of VAS services require higher value of innovation. However,
preferences of services like medical advice and online education are relatively
in usage in India. Therefore, relevance and suitable pricing of MVAS apps are
the keys to success,” said R S Mathews of COAI.

Commenting on the
regulations by the concerned authorities, Mr Mathews said, Regulatory
challenges are the interventions which give rise to apprehensions that the
regulator may impose directions that may become counterproductive to the VAS

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