Huge market in rural areas through Mobile Value Added Services

MUMBAI: Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) industry is fast growing in India. "VAS is taking a wider view to content providers and expanding the demographic segments", said Mr. Pankaj Thaker - CEO, Cellcast at The India Digital Summit 2007 hosted by Internet & Mobile Association of India in New Delhi. Advocating the use of VAS in India, he added that 80% of the participation in China is via VAS.

Chief Guest Shri Dayanidhi Maran, Hon'ble Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said that today telecom companies in India are receiving global attention. He added "It is only a matter of time that Digital offerings will be across products and services. The content and services will become the unique selling point. His vision for digital India comprises of the country being connected with a network of communication technologies spanning optic fiber and wireless, interacting in all the 22 languages and cross lingual information access facilities."

Mobile VAS is slowly becoming a critical source of information and interactivity. MVAS market is pegged at 2200- 3000 crores. Commenting on VAS, Mr. Rajiv Hiranandani said that India is lagging behind China as the latter has been using VAS for the past 4 years while India is still an infant. The role of VAS is very critical to the growth of the industry in India.

Eminent speakers / leading industry experts like Neville Taraporewalla, MD & CEO - Connecturf, Arvind Chawla, Advisor TDSAT, RK Arnold, Secretary - TRAI, Pankaj Thaker, CEO- Cellcast,

Rajiv Hiranandani, Mariam Mathew - CEO, Malayalam Manorama among others presented an insight on convergence, communication, content and commerce.

Speaking at the summit, the distinguished panelists highlighted that rural Indian market plays a pivotal role in the growth of internet and mobile sector. Rajiv Hiranandani added that 50% of the internet subscribers are from rural India. Mobile phones have permeated to smaller towns, cities and villages expanding the opportunity for adoption and use of value added services. Expansion of mobile subscriber's base beyond cities presents a great opportunity to the MVAS industry to grow. However, the challenge is the role of entertainment in adoption, pricing, packaging and local content.

The India Digital Summit 2007, IAMAI's flagship annual event, had set a tough agenda for itself this year and though there were some tricky questions, each panelist provided a "view" of the future. The Summit this year focused on two distinct areas: internet and related issues of current and future policies, communications tools and commerce; and mobile devices and connected issues of mobile value added services over two days.


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