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Deloitte optimistic on Mobile Value Added Services growth in India
March, 18th 2011

Indias current Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) industry has an estimated size of Rs.12, 200 crores. The Indian MVAS industry derives its revenues majorly from the top five to six products such as game based applications, music downloads, etc. These continue to form close to 80% of VAS revenues, and have become easily replicable. The other types of services such as governance, education, and commerce constitute only 20-25% of VAS revenues, leaving large scope for growth. A study on Indian MVAS industry by Deloitte hopes that MVAS has the potential to achieve digital empowerment which would help bridge the digital divide and foster inclusive growth in India. Such MVAS, which seek to digitally empower citizens by providing access to essential information and services, and foster inclusive growth, have been classified as Utility MVAS, by the Deloitte report.

According to Mr. Sandip Biswas, Director, Deloitte in India, The Indian MVAS industry is estimated to grow to Rs 48,200 crores by 2015 from the current estimated size of Rs. 12,200 crores. The next wave of growth in subscriptions will come from semi-urban and rural areas. Today the penetration of mobile phones in urban areas is already ~ 100% while in rural areas it is only ~23%. 

Non-voice revenues currently constitute about ~10% of revenues of Indian telecom operators. A comparison with other countries indicates an average of ~23%, providing large scope for growth of MVAS in India he added.

The reach and penetration of mobile phones can ensure the delivery of a large number of services in a cost effective, fast and seamless manner even without physical access, as is seen from such initiatives around the world.

The key drivers for Utility MVAS include: (1) Government mandate for inclusive growth (2) Increasing mobile phone, and network penetration (3) Need for differentiation among telecom operators and device manufacturers (4) Increasing consumer demand and awareness, even in non-urban areas (5) Business need of service providers such as hospitals and banks (6) Automation due to Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

While the opportunities are tremendous, given the mobile phones growing reach and the advancement of technology including the foray of 3G, there are plenty of challenges that face the Utility MVAS space today. These challenges result from non-fulfillment of the critical success factors for industry growth: (i) Policy Framework (ii) Support Infrastructure (iii) High Equilibrium Ecosystem. While the policy framework sets boundary and gives direction, the support infrastructure provides the critical base required for the ecosystem to be built.

Certain action needs to be taken by all players in the Utility MVAS value chain / ecosystem to meet the numerous challenges these services face and ensure the uptake of such services in India.  In order for the success of Utility MVAS, it is imperative that the government / regulatory authorities initiate by laying down a vision, and set of guidelines to provide the industry with the direction. Infact, a phase-wise implementation approach, spread across Initiation, Prioritization and Deployment could prove to be the optimal approach for India. It is only a matter of the government and the industry coming together to create a win-win situation for the industry and the consumers.


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