Demand for sophisticated, transformational MVAS is on the rise

by Sohini Bagchi    Apr 05, 2013

Arun Tanksali comvivaThe continuous innovation in mobile technologies, services and applications is bringing newer opportunities to the mobile value added services (MVAS) segment. In an exclusive interaction with CXOtoday, Arun Tanksali, CTO, Mahindra Comviva explains how the MVAS market is becoming more customer centric and how MVAS players and telecom operators should constantly bring in sophisticated and innovative solutions to offer enriched experiences to customers. Excerpt.

The company has been rebranded as Mahindra Comviva only a few months back? What are the advantages of being part of the Tech Mahindra?

There have not been many changes as far as internal operations are concerned. We have always added innovative platform based solutions to our portfolio that has enabled operators to differentiate our brand, create and sustain new revenue streams and drive ARPU. Of course we now have expanded to some of the larger markets and domain. Moreover by leveraging Tech Mahindra’s strong technology framework and network, we will continue to help operators achieve growth and bottomline benefits by maximizing their operational efficiencies.

What are the key challenges MVAS players currently face?

Impractical regulation, absence of localized content and lack of services innovation is currently plaguing the VAS segment. The industry needs a collaborative effort among mobile network operators, telecom equipment vendors and mobile service content providers in order to attain widespread growth. The other challenge is from a plethora of MVAS offerings that are hot and exciting, it often becomes a challenge to select a niche. Once these players can choose their domain, it is not really challenging to build innovative solutions based on their chosen area.

In which areas of MVAS do you see maximum growth opportunity? How is Mahindra Comviva capitalizing onto this opportunity?

While traditional mobile VAS services including ring tones and infotainment will continue to exist, we have found that consumers are increasingly demanding sophisticated and transformational services in the areas of mobile education, mobile health and mobile payment. While mobile education has the potential to expand the reach and quality of education in the country, mobile health will improve healthcare access and affordability through remote diagnostics, chronic disease management and maternal care. The other area where we see a significant opportunity is the market for vernacular content, on-demand music and video content. We are already working in these areas, bringing solutions that cater to segments such as finance, health and education. We are also working on customization and localization of content and building innovating solutions with a compelling consumer value proposition.

How do you map consumer behavior and how are you planning to bring some of the customer centric innovations in this segment?

We use analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) tools to understand customer behavior and accordingly develop apps and innovative solutions that engage and deliver better convenience to customers, enhance their experience and also support the goals of out operators. In order to foster customer-centric innovations we are working in the areas of mobile data management. With broadband operators and telcos often finding it challenging to handle explosive data growth and ensuring a positive user experience. We are focusing on data analytics by developing a range of innovative apps. For example, last year, we launched Hola, a one-stop application to access social networking sites. Customers can experience smartphone like experience even on their feature phones. With the help of these and many more new solutions we are planning to carve a niche in the emerging markets, help operators to build brand loyalty in those markets and create new revenue stream. To offer convenient and affordable services to customers, we are coming up with an incubation lab by partnering with a leading telecom operator. This move will allow us to build and test new and innovative services on new network.

Where do you see the MVAS market in india heading in the next 2-3 years?

The MVAS market has a huge growth opportunity. It is estimated to reach $9.5 billion in 2015, at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25 per cent since 2012. Over the next few years, multiservice offerings will be dominant in the MVAS market. There will be a greater opportunity to offer services that depend on video or image based content. These include opportunities in e-learning, video and tele conferencing and telemedicine. The video streaming market in particular is an area that will generate considerable revenue for mobile operators. Mobile banking and commerce will also be game changers for the MVAS market. Much of the growth in this market is also expected to come from 3G/4G roll outs and a thrust from the rural and remote markets.