Mixed fortune for mobile VAS developers in India


Acknowledging that mobile VAS is yet to mature as a stable industry, OnMobile Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Arvind Rao, asked developers to work harder to gain a foothold at a mobile application conference organised by Siliconindia in the City on Saturday. “Certainly, mobile applications has the potential to be the next platform,” Arvind said.

“Hard work and clear vision are necessary in order to be successful in the industry. If you have clearer vision and the product that can create value for the end user, you will be able to succeed,” he said.

Pointing out that distribution remains one of the most important challenges for developers, he said companies should have a clear vision and value creation as their objectives to succeed.  

Responsible for popularising ring back tones (RBTs), OnMobile has about 45 lakh users of its ringtones who, Rao mentioned; “Pay Rs 40 per month, an important revenue stream considering the present market situation.”

He said OnMobile prepares to provide the infrastructure and platform for developers with good ideas. “We are launching OnMobile Developers Network which developers can make use of to create voice-based applications. We would also help them get to the operators and let them piggyback on us until they find sufficient feet in the market. We even find them VCIs to help them progress to the next level,” he said.

Addressing a session on “Mobile Applications Explored. Who wins and who loses,” Dilip R Mehta, a professor at IIM, said VAS remains the best revenue hope for operators as the ARPU (Average Revenue Per Unit) for voice plunging to newer lows.  “The change in favour of VAS started to happen when leading operators in India opened up for ringtones,” Mehta told the conference. “And the advent of App Stores and iPhones added a wholly new dimension to mobile applications.”

Wider participation

Organised by technology portal siliconindia.com, the day-long conference heard developers describe potentials and challenges in their respective domains. “The scope for something like location-based services has been immense,” said  Prashant Dogra, Customer Marketing Manager, Navteq.

“Amongst the segments of mobile VAS, location-based systems have by far the most matured technology in place. However, we still need to work harder in terms of value creation and revenue models.”

About 25 mobile VAS developers displayed their wares in the exhibition area, providing services and solutions ranging from mobile newspapers, search, gaming and social networking platforms.

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