Given the fact that Mobile Telephony has become almost ubiquitous in India Mobile VAS offers a host of opportunities to industry players. IAMAI organised a one day conference with the idea of getting insights into the future of VAS in India. We bring you excerpts from these sessions over the next few issues.
In this issue, we are giving excerpts from the deliberations on “Future Direction of VAS in India”.
Mr Sanjeev Mittal, Vice President, Bharti Telesoft
The Mobile Value Added Service (VAS) industry that did not even exist till 2001, has come into being and achieved rapid growth only in the last 3-4 years, ever since the perception of mobile phones changed from just a voice call device on the move to a multi-purpose device. Now this industry has its own eco system with content providers and aggregators, technology, solution and service providers.
Though in its very nascent stages the industry is growing very dynamically, only recently one of the players On Mobile launched a very successful IPO and we are sure another 3-4 companies will go public within the next one year. There are major innovations happening, new players are entering this market every day and efforts are being made to make the mobile more than just a voice call provider.
While around the world VAS services are more WAP, Internet and data services based; in India the focus is still in voice and SMS area and this scenario is going to be a total transformation soon because of the entry of 3G which is going to provide a much larger bandwidth for data transfer. Therefore a lot of VAS like live TV, video services and others that are not possible now will be enabled once the 3G comes in. The Apple iphone 3G has already been launched in India, this a device that is totally geared up for the future VAS applications, we also have a lot of devices with maps and navigational capabilities and soon more location based VAS will be available on the mobile phones besides social networking etc. The fact that the mobile phone knows where you are enables this device to provide a lot of location-based services.
In the next 3-5 years I see the following trends taking shape in this industry.
- The India mobile VAS industry will become more global because this industry has a leading edge in this technology. The solution providers as well as scalability of our projects are world class and therefore companies around the world are very keen to tie up with India companies and be part of the Indian mobile growth.
- The industry will consolidate and the mobile VAS market will be dominated by Indian companies because USA is not very developed in this field and Europe in spite of having a lead in GSM technologies are failed by their high price structures.
- In a manner similar to that of Personal Computers, which started off 25 years back as merely computing devices and have gone on to become our one stop access for commerce, information and entertainment world, the mobile phone too is geared up to become such a device from whence one will market, bank, advertise and do social networking in the next 5 years.
The vision of IAMAI and this seminar is to provide a common platform to the Indian Mobile VAS industry and provide a vision for its future growth as a world leader.
Mr. Prabhakar Seshan, Country Manager, IBM India
I would like to give you a brief idea about what IBM is doing in the Mobile VAS industry and the investments that we are making. Traditionally everything was discreet but now a tremendous amount of convergence is taking place in the market place, the service provider space and the content providers space where IT and networks are merging completely.
From traditional built up software everything is moving towards off the shelf products whether in hardware or software products and services. From legacy networks we are moving towards a commo