Innovation and evolution have always been the main force behind telecommunication industry since its inception. From basic telephony to Value Added Services (VAS) several remarkable changes have happened in this field that has resulted in not only expanding the base of mobile users but also providing more user friendly services to consumers. Today, mobile phones have surpassed their primary role of voice communications and have become more of an infotainment device for mobile users. Mobile phones are used not jut to communicate with people but have become a medium to express their thoughts and creativity, download pictures, play games, read news, surf on the Internet, listen to music, chat with friends, book tickets, check examination results and even get information on your bank accounts. And all this has been made possible by the new and innovative services that are being offered by service providers.
The increasing role and utility of telecommunication, luxury mobile phones have now become a necessity. They have helped cut across all the divides and have gained acceptance in all the sectors. It has become an important source of mass media views. While information has become more personalized, the cost of getting the information has also seen a drastic fall. And with the coming of 3G services commercial viability will further improve.
Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) included vast gamut of services being offered by the cellular operator including SMS, MMS, advertisements, contests, information related to news, weather reports, songs, screens savers, games, ring tones, interactive menu based services and much more. Providing these kinds of services is becoming rewarding to both, the cellular companies as well as the end users. According to an estimate out of the total subscribers are Indian. Thus MVAS are an important source of revenue accounting to around 10 – 12 percent of the total telecom revenues. It has been projected that Mobile value added services hold a tremendous revenue generating potential which could rake in around Rs 18,000 core by 2012 and it will contribute about INR 6,000 crore to total revenue from telecom operations by end of 2009.
Entertainment constitutes the most important factor in the popularity of value added services. Be it contests voting down loading ring tones, jokes, games, songs, wallpapers etc these services are popular among millions of users. Particularly among the younger group i.e. between 20-25 age groups of mobile users these are the most popular value added services that they are using. Information is another important factor that has been driving these services. Mobile paper, instant sms on headlines sports and business news, examination results etc all are becoming available in a matter of few minutes. That is the reason why these services are being used to launch media and marketing campaigns. Instantly, your message can reach to millions of people. Cellular services providers have the data available with them and through a simple sms campaign good results can be achieved. This is how the business of contest and campaigning through bulk messages is becoming a viable and popular marketing tool. For business and commercial purposes also new services are available so that transaction could be done using the mobile phone, but they will become more popular in the coming future.
However to ensure that the VAS market grows at a sustained rate more initiatives need to be made. Experts feel that more need based and user specific services need to be provided. Also, today most of the VAS are directed towards the younger age group, his needs to be made broader so that it has a greater demographic reach. Experts also feel that more emphasis is required on the content and language part of the messages. With the spread of telecommunication in rural areas problem of language would be a big hurdle. That needs to be taken care of so that content becomes more intelligible.