Tata Teleservices head Value Added Services RishiMohan Malhotra

Tata Teleservices (TTSL) announced expansion and new strategies to grow faster in mobile VAS space.

The Indian mobile VAS industry is in a dynamic phase currently and the industry sees new areas gaining focus in the constant quest for entertainment and content. The mobile industry has been observing a dramatic shift in the manner in which content has been consumed and the role that the internet pipe plays. Tata Teleservices head Value Added Services RishiMohan Malhotra talks about mobile VAS plans, innovations, etc.

On latest mobile VAS trends

The conventional modes of selling VAS seem to be over and consumers today find it convenient to use the data pipe to search for content such as wallpapers, music, videos and games.

With the influx of smartphones to fit all wallet sizes, we are seeing increased adoption of app stores and a massive download trend in utility, games and music apps. Smartly positioned with in app purchases, these apps play a pivotal role in driving continued user engagement.

The industry is also moving away from its conventional ‘push’ modes of driving awareness to ‘pull’ modes. This is a step in the right direction since creating a strong pull shall enable customers to choose the right type and form of content to suit their needs. In this, apps stores, smart ad networks on the internet and dial in codes have started gaining much traction.

Additionally, health care and education based services delivered over the mobile are also going mainstream along with a strong pull from the rural sector for utility and lifestyle VAS services.

On Tata Docomo’s VAS plans

Tata Docomo, a brand of Tata Teleservices, has been at the forefront of delivering innovation coupled with relevance and value for money. We continue to aggressively pursue innovation on the data front while leveraging content to deliver value.

We are investing significant energies on creating alternate channels of discovery by tapping into the existing distribution networks, leveraging the strength of our branded outlets, the internet engines and mostly leveraging technology to deliver smart channels of discovery

Tata Docomo is creating relevant motifs for consumers to be made aware of and pull content on their own. These modes shall span the internet, ad networks, voice and SMS short codes and leveraging retail presence across free market retailers and branded stores

We are also increasing efforts on customer segmentation and the concept of ‘intelligent customer view’ separate from the normal ARPU measures. We believe that customers have different needs and our profiling and segmentation efforts shall see us position relevant and timely services to customers.

With the two factor authentication process companies have lost significant VAS revenues. How do you view that development? How has it impacted Tata Docomo?

The implementation of the TPCG (Third Party Consent Gateway) under direction from the regulator is a step in the right direction and much welcomed. Tata Docomo has stringent customer protection practices, most of which have been acknowledged as pioneering and well meaning. TPCG is simply an extension of our approach all along.

It is our considered view that we shall see genuine customer adoption as a result of TPCG since the interest of the customer and his/her consent is paramount. There is much trust and faith that had been eroded and the two step authentication process shall therefore go a long way in rebuilding transparency, trust and regaining customer interest.

What is the status of VAS related complaints? The industry trend is that they have fallen, what are your numbers?

Any reduction in customer dissatisfaction is a good and healthy sign of correct processes being in place. We have not seen any significant change to customer complaints since we had pre-empted the matter by putting in place extremely robust processes of operation and governance right from the beginning.

Rishimohan Malhotra, Head-VAS, Tata DOCOMO

TPCG is a step in the right direction and an affirmation of our efforts over the course of the last few years. We have always been very cautious in our approach to VAS promotions and have put customer 1st each time; for which we have consistently had strong internal processes that would regulate and govern all customer interaction. We believe that true customer satisfaction is a factor of transparency and adequacy of information and to this end, TPCG achieves all that and more.

What role do you think digital will play going forward in the VAS industry?

Today businesses need a holistic and well-coordinated strategy for engagement which complements their other marketing channels. Digital comes in well suited in its ability to drive awareness and consumption in a fairly non intrusive manner and this shall go a long way in driving revenues for hitherto untapped innovation;

Social networking sites are today the fastest news proliferators. Facebook and twitter, amongst others, are potent in their ability to attract users to their platforms.

Chat Apps and messenger services are gaining ground and are once again, another potent tool by virtue of their ability to drive peer – peer engagement.

Digital Ad networks are already providing us a platform to showcase relevant products while the consumer is browsing and we shall increasingly see intelligence being built in here.

Apps and engaged in app purchases shall also see more consumers leveraging the power of their mobile to ‘do more’; specially with Cloud based apps which enable customers to easily store and access information, music, games and videos without having to necessarily store it on their phones.

You recently entered into a partnership with SAAVN, please shed some light on the partnership? 

Our partnership with SAAVN was an affirmation of our belief that the internet pipe and music streaming, when combined, make for a potent, relevant and exciting offering. Music spans almost every age group and with SAAVN’s customized app, this was a unique recipe waiting to be created.

Through this distinctive initiative, we broadly attempted to bring music to customers via smartly packaged data packs which were affordable and offered true value for 2G and 3G customers. The partnership also saw us bring International music on SAAVN’s app exclusively for Tata Docomo subscribers.

We are certain that the coming days shall see us engage with app developers and content partners to leverage the strength of the data pipe to proliferate conventional forms of content such as music, videos, games, CRBT, astrology and much more. Apps are the future and we shall leverage our rich experience to deliver ubiquitous solutions for the daily content needs of our customers.

On new focus areas

These are challenging yet dynamic times and we are geared up to usher in the next wave of innovation towards building customer value.

Broadly, we are focusing our energies on:

Smart investments towards enhancing our data capacities and customer experience; in a manner that we are able to serve each customer who wishes to browse the internet via the multitude of our data offerings.

We are investing in developing alternate channels of discovery to deliver content and offerings across all available physical, virtual and digital resources.

We continue to be committed to achieving true customer satisfaction via a combination of trust, transparency and relevant value for money offerings. This shall include but not be limited to building processes and systems for creating an ‘n=1’ model where each customer shall be viewed as a separate entity and products and services customized to specific needs.

Baburajan K
[email protected]