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Panel Discussion On Emerging New VAS-Scope, Viability And Drivers At Mobile Internet Conference

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Mobiles have become an indispensable part of any human being’s life. More so, the use of mobiles is not merely confined to interacting with family and friends rather, device users are using mobiles to trigger sales by connecting with their favourite brands and fetch new ones. This is nothing but Value Added Service which is used by various industries for promotional purposes. This service helps them in promoting their services at a minimum cost or no cost. Value Added Service (VAS) is getting popular majorly in the telecommunication industry.

At the Mobile Internet Conference, several influencers shared their experiences and presented their views on the emerging concept of new VAS system, its scope and viability in the forthcoming time.

Aniketh Jain, CEO & Co – founder, Solutions Infini

One of the panelists, Aniketh Jain, CEO & Co-founder- Solutions Infini spoke about his company being a cloud telephony. He talked about several shifts in the pattern of responses viz. things started with a concept of sending an SMS to a short code, to the recent one being if you are interested in something then give a missed call and there is another one being a short URL that further connects to the data for any further enquiries. He said that the latter gives an option to the customer to get access to more data and vice-versa, the company also gets the database of the users and more importantly what kind of data is he looking for.

Debasis Chatterji, Chief Executive Officer, Netxcell

Another panelist Debasis Chatterji talked about how mobile internet made things possible in the ecosystem and he called it as the mobile growth phase II. He said that primarily, the handsets are becoming cheaper which enables the user to access the service without which it is illogical to build the ecosystem. Secondly, he said the kind of data packages that are available are something that are absolutely unbelievable as they start from just Rs. 5/-. Last but not the least, he mentioned that the nature and concept of VAS system has changed. He said, after checking the customer behaviour from the backend data, the data packs were altered as per the consumer’s requirements.

Moreover, me asserted that the focus has been shifted from English Language, with laying focus on 10 more vernacular languages. He also said that voice is also an important aspect as people want to access voice. He said that the rate of growth in terms of the data is very huge and that social packs are driving, for example: Facebook pack, WhatsApp pack etc. and as per the usage of the customer, they alter and deliver the pack.

Sanjay Goyal, Founder & CEO, ACL Mobile

In the panel discussion, Sanjay talked about the enterprise aspect of Value Added Services (VAS). Basically, he talked about the consumers to enterprise services which are telecom dependent and said that some of the initial success is in the messaging space, for instance, messages from banks or promotional SMS’s.

He briefed about mobile messaging business, which is the enterprise messaging business and said that it is nothing but bulk SMS. It started off sometime in 2003-2004 and in the last 10 years, that one concept has developed enormously. The data on that reflects that the market today is about 750 crores a year and is growing at about 20-25%. Adding to this he said that though the consumer to consumer SMS is declining, may be in India it is still growing due to the vernacular aspect. But globally, there is a decline in the consumer SMS due to instant messaging, mobile messaging services like WhatsApp. The enterprise to messaging business is growing at about 25% in India and globally due to which that ecosystem has been established.

According to his estimation, the total messages in India are about 6-7 billion in a month which comes to be 75-80 billion SMS’s in a year. Furthermore, he said that in the last 10 years, many other different things were tried out like various voice based and USSB based services etc. but according to him, any of those has succeeded to come in the enterprise space of which the mobile messaging service has walked out.

Looking ahead, as Jagdish Mitra, Head – Mobility Business & Large Deals, Tech Mahindra mentioned that 12% of Airtel’s revenue data mobile internet has taken the centre stage. In the mobile internet ecosystem, there are various players viz. banks, online e-commerce based companies, business classifieds. The whole concept is to evolve enterprise services to consumers through mobile internet.

Ajay Vaishnavi, Director – Telecom, Times Internet

Ajay started off by telling about his company Times Internet, that runs multiple content in entertainment services. In the context of Mobile Internet, he then stated that primarily, everything was controlled by the operator, he used to see the product and accordingly price the product. But, with the advent of data services, the operator is realizing that he no longer has the control over the product, which is a major shift in the revenue share. Thus, the control is coming back to the content player or the service provider as to what service and how he wants to deliver it, how he wants to position it and what price should be offered to the end consumer. There is a big change that has happened in the VAS industry. He asked, is the operator still relevant? Yes, he is still very relevant. He added, as his co-panelist Sanjay said that the options of micro-charging are very limited,. The operator continues to be one of the easiest ways of charging the consumer. Thus, the operator will be in the medium role in the near future. Moreover, the service and content provider will have to relocate his content strategy, to make the shift good.

Sanjay Sinha, Country Manager – India, Fortumo

He talked about the enterprise areas related to Fortumo. He counsels companies about the VAS space and provides information about the tools required to make the services live in VAS or typically, the mobile digital industry. Since he joined this industry in the year 2000, so he has got pretty good experience. He asked whom should one target, the seller/operator or the end using consumer?  It was realized that it is the operator who has the control of pricing the product and help to decide which company can survive in the VAS industry. The second loop-hope was short-term and opportunistic attitude because it was an operator dominated industry. This is one of the struggles faced in the conventional VAS. Third struggle was the limited freedom to fail as the complete cycle was of about 6 months to 1 year.

So, the company Fortumo, enables the user to simply the process as one need not go the operator for collection and other process, thus making the user to focus on the customer, thus helping to fetch good customer base which is happy and enabling the user to get significant viewership and customer acquisition.

[Sr. Associate - Content Marketing] A content passionate, Jasleen handles the content writing and marketing activities. Additionally, she leads Digital Marketing Internship Programme. Her deep passion and enthusiasm for writing guided her towards being the Associate Editor in English for her college magazine. Only deep passion and zeal can guide a person towards a professional writing career. Apparently, Jasleen is one of those persons. She is in the content writing and marketing fraternity for 5 years now. A top-notch individual, she is proficient in writing content for multiple requirements including blogs, articles, books, brochures and social media. She embraces practical knowledge of WordPress CMS. Besides this, she is also highly engaging in Social Media Marketing activities.
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