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Expect Soon: VAS Explosion

ST Team
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
ST Team
It was chilling cold outside. But it could not deter the enthusiasm of mobile phone technology experts and learning aspirants who attended Momo Monsoon, held at IIM Bangalore on 30th August, conducted by Mobile Monday Bangalore, the city chapter of the Finland based Mobile Monday, a global community of mobile industry professionals, which promotes mobile industry by fostering cooperation and networking among interest groups and industry.

This edition of Momo Monsoon aimed to promote discussion on issues, ideas, challenges, and opportunities in the Mobile VAS ecosystem, the event threw light on several issues related to mobile value added services (VAS) and its opportunities.

In the inaugural keynote, Prof. Dr. Sridhar Varadarajan, Professor in Information Management at the Management Development Institute, said that though the mobile calling minutes in the country was increasing, average revenue per user (ARPU) is on a decline, thanks to a fierce competition among the players to offer customers the lowest possible call charges. But VAS could be a solution for this.
Last month, 9.2 million new subscribers were added to the mobile subscriber base in India. Though growth numbers are exciting, mobile VAS is still in an infancy stage due to the low adoption rate and lack of a promotion-conducive ecosystem. There is a wide gap between the urban and rural sectors in mobile adoption. Out of the total of 320 million urban population of India 240 million people are mobile phone users and the urban teledensity is 85 percent. Almost 80 million of them have access to cable TV DTH and Internet, while 70 percent of India is rural and still remains underconnected.

Considering the low PC penetration and still lower Internet and broadband penetration, the mobile has the potential to emerge as the content and communication platform for rural India, which has a population of around 850 million with 63 million mobile users, where current teledensity is about 8.5 percent.

VAS: A New Hope?

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