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March - 2008 - issue > CEO Spot Light
Being innovative is the sole way
Arvind Rao
Monday, March 3, 2008
The mobile boom is finally on. As voice is flattening to almost a freebie day-by-day, value added services are creating novel opportunities and becoming increasingly important for telecom operators. People are using ringtones, ring back tones, music, video and such other value added services to a greater extent than ever before. Consequently VAS is definitely the Internet of the future. Just like the Internet, VAS is also not just a technology driven trend. It is all innovation driven. Even if you have a brand new technology without innovation or any value addition it’s not at all helpful. Therefore for the real growth of the space it is imperative that one needs to be innovative and the solution should stand out from the rest.

Nowadays it’s very difficult for a small entrepreneur to approach larger telecom operators and sell their services or ideas directly to them. Normally, in India telecom operators rarely buy services or applications from smaller companies. Nevertheless, there are ample opportunities for small companies if they are offering really innovative and fresh solutions and so, it is advisable that entrepreneurs or small companies can approach the content aggregator or content deployers, rather than knocking on the doors of large telecom operators.

In India VAS is growing 50-60 percent a year-on-year and there does not appear to be any slowdown over the next four to five years. Because of the advent of futuristic phones containing features like GPRS, smart phones, camera phones, and 3G rolling out soon, the plethora of services and applications like video streaming and 3G applications will rock the space. Interestingly, when we compare Indian VAS market to U.S. or Europe markets, India is now far ahead in terms of many VAS services. In India VAS is contributing around 15 percent of the total revenues of the operators. Whereas in the U.S., U.K. or Europe it’s much less than that. Thus, in fact they need to catch up with India and try to replicate the business models we have adopted to achieve these results.

The author is CEO and Co-founder of OnMobile.

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