Mumbai, Maharashtra, India:Mobile phones in South Asia are breaking out of the confines of mere voice communication to emerge as powerful infotainment gadgets. South Asia is witnessing a smartphone revolution which has resulted in an increased adoption of value-added and data services.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.wireless.frost.com), Mobile VAS: Mobile Infotainment and Communication Services and Data Usage in South Asia, finds that market earned revenues of $6.01 billion in 2011 and is expected to reach $23.04 billion by 2018. India will remain the major revenue contributor to the overall market, followed by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Across South Asia, while entertainment services such as caller ring back tones have traditionally been telecom operators' top revenue grossers, the offer of mobile data services has popularized high-return services such as video streaming and mobile TV.
The entertainment segment is likely to grow rapidly as many first-time subscribers and feature phone users may opt to subscribe to network-based value-added services. Growth in the information segment will be muted due to the proliferation of mobile data-based information applications or widgets.
“The availability of high-quality mobile Internet services at low costs and the constantly declining selling prices of smartphones and tablet PCs make a robust case for the uptake of data services”, said the Frost & Sullivan analyst
While the proliferation of data services bodes well for telcos, the lack of innovative vernacular content and high costs of services will dampen the growth of the mobile infotainment market. Further, some segments of consumers will persist with basic phones, which do not support mobile data services.
The swelling influence of over-the-top services is reducing telecom operators to being mere conduits of data, with no control over content consumption. The need of the hour from the operators is to focus on new services and providing rich and sticky content and applications.
Service providers need to acknowledge that at a time when over-the-top services rule the roost, content is critical. Equitable revenue share model for the VAS vendors, content providers, content aggregators and other VAS ecosystem stakeholders will ensure the availability of innovative content at all times. Adopting the right business strategy that either combats the increasing influence of over-the-top services or compliments the current offerings will shape the future roadmap of the telecom service providers.
“Vernacular support should be another area of focus for telcos in South Asia,” noted the analyst. “Further, operators can subsidize smartphones and other access devices to promote data usage in the region.”
Frost & Sullivan, on 13th December 2012, 3:30 pm IST
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Mobile VAS: Mobile Infotainment and Communication Services and Data Usage in South Asia
Caroline Lewis, Corporate Communications – South Asia, Frost & Sullivan, +91 9821737935