According to recent estimates by Informa Telecoms & Media, by 2016 end-user service revenues from mobile data and VAS (value-added services) in India will reach US$15.9 billion as against US$3.9 billion in 2011. Apart from mobile entertainment services, more and more Mobile operators, content providers and technology vendors are offering utility services such as mobile banking and payments, m-health, m-education, and m-governance to grow their revenues. The revenue generated by mobile utility services is expected to increase from 4% of the total revenue in 2011 to 18% in 2016.
Shailendra Pandey, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media said,”Government-led initiatives will be crucial to drive the adoption of mobile utility services in India, particularly among the poor and people living in rural parts of the country. The services need to be priced at very reasonable rates, and the government should provide subsidies, keeping in mind the social and economic development driven by such services”.
Mobile utility services are being deployed in almost every sphere – be it health, education, commerce or by the government. “Ask a Doctor” by Vodafone is an m-health service which allows users to clarify health-related questions with doctors using their mobile phone. Organizations like All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Apollo Hospitals, Maestros Mediline Systems, Religare Technologies, BioQuest Solutions and mDhil and mobile operators Aircel and Bharti Airtel have also introduced m-health services.
Spice Telecom, Deltics, Tata DoCoMo, EnableM and GCube Solutions are working to deploy m-education services that can provide learning and training to users, particularly those who are poor and live in rural India. For example, the “mGurujee” service allows students to use their mobile phones to access information on subjects including engineering, management, civil services and medicine, and tutorials to improve their vocabulary and general knowledge.
Informa Telecoms & Media believes that deploying VAS to drive social and economic development and improve the standard of life, particularly of the poor population, will become a key focus for the mobile operators and other mobile VAS value-chain players in India over the coming years.