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India’s mobile VAS market set to hit $9.5B by 2015

There is pent up demand for sophisticated mobile services in application areas such as m-education, m-entertainment, m-finance and m-health, says a report by Wipro and IAMAI.
Written by Swati Prasad, Contributor

The Indian mobile value added services (MVAS) market is estimated to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent between 2012 and 2015--reaching US$9.5 billion in 2015, from an estimated US$4.9 billion in 2012.

This was one of the key findings of a research report titled "Future Thought of Business (FTOB): MVAS", released Tuesday by Wipro Technologies (the global IT, consulting and outsourcing business of Wipro) and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

A similar study conducted last year by management consulting firm Zinnov had said Indian MVAS market was expected to move from the traditional SMS-based services to Internet-based and application-based services. As per the Zinnov study, the Indian MVAS industry is estimated at over US$5 billion and is expected to reach well over US$6 billion by 2013.

Wipro and IAMAI conducted research on over 450 consumers and providers of MVAS in India to identify the major drivers and barriers of the Indian MVAS market and provide insights that will help grow this market. The research found that there is pent up demand from consumers for sophisticated mobile services in India in application areas such as m-education, m-entertainment, m-finance and m-health.

Basic informational mobile services are set to decline in India, said Ayan Mukerji, senior vice president and global head of media and telecom at Wipro Technologies, in a statement.

"We have found that consumers in India will increasingly purchase enriched and transformational education, health, finance and entertainment services. An expected MVAS revolution in India is being made possible by the dramatic growth in mobile device penetration and mobile network capacity and this market offers abundant opportunities for growth to all industry participants," Mukerji added.

To realize the market's full potential, the industry requires a collaborative effort across mobile network operators, telecom equipment vendors and mobile service content providers, the report said.

So far, this market has been hampered by lack of innovation," said Subho Ray, president, IAMAI.

"By forging mutually agreeable partnerships, we can improve customization and localization of content and create services with a compelling consumer value proposition. The Indian MVAS market offers tremendous potential to all industry participants and those companies that can offer innovative services will stand to benefit the most," Ray added.

The report has identified the following opportunities for players in the Indian MVAS market:

  1. Domestic mobile operators could focus on providing better network and connectivity.
  2. Global operators could increase their base by testing new VAS offerings in the Indian market.
  3. Content and VAS technology could focus on the consumer experience and developing personalized content.
  4. Original equipment manufacturers could innovate with low-cost smartphones and mobile devices to drive penetration

The research findings reveal that m-entertainment is the largest contributor to operator MVAS revenues and provides key opportunities in vernacular content, on-demand music and video content and live TV shows and events. 

On the other hand, m-education can play a key role in expanding the reach and quality of education in India, through interactive English language learning services, competitive examination preparation solutions, tutor-on-call and vocational training.

Similarly, m-health has the potential to improve healthcare access and affordability in India especially through remote diagnostics, chronic disease management and maternal care.

Mobile phones will also play a key role in extending financial services to the unbanked population of India, estimated at 40 percent of the total. Mobile-finance can contribute to revenues through mobile wallet services, mobile remittance services and business correspondence model based services, the report said.

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