With media houses looking at differentiators in the marketplace and innovative ways to engage consumers, technology is showing the way. Voice-based applications are being increasingly used by mobile service providers as they help cut across the technology barrier. The market for mobile Value Added Services (VAS) is currently about Rs 380 crore, and it is expected to grow to around Rs 3,500 crore by 2010. The telecom industry in India is growing at a fast pace, with over 55 million mobile phone users. OnMobile is a leading player in the fast growing Mobile Value Added Services Market.
Key cellular operators have partnered with OnMobile to create a mobile platform for media houses and corporates. Even players in the publication space like Dainik Jagran have partnered with OnMobile for its voice services, which currently run on 505-7272 number.
Arvind Rao, CEO, OnMobile, said, “Similarly, a newspaper brand launched its services on 505-ABCD and the results are encouraging for them. The morning newspaper was able to increase its presence and relevance in its reader’s life, encouraging users to interact with it even during late evening. We manage the end-to-end portal; Airtel’s activity is limited to marketing and promotion. VAS is growing because there is a genuine demand.” OnMobile provides a range of services that includes voice-automated customer care services.
VAS was a low margin, low price but high volume game, pointed out Rao. “We handle over a billion calls a month and we are almost operating at that scale. When we started our operations in VAS, we decided to focus on voice as we believe that when India becomes 300 million mobile subscriber market there will be less people to use SMS, but more who will use voice services. This will be the key to reach out to the masses and rural areas.”
Today, OnMobile has 90-95 per cent market share in the voice market and almost all GSM operators have partnered with OnMobile already. “We started with Hutch and now we work with almost all the operators, except Aircel and Spice Punjab. We are even live on landlines. We believe we are still very early in the process and there is a lot of scope to grow as there is huge market for utility services. We launched the movie ticketing service with PVR in Hyderabad two months ago, and today on an average 11-12 per cent of all PVR tickets are sold through our mobile service. While in the last two three years the focus has been much on entertainment services, this year our focus will be more on e-commerce. Our airline ticketing service will be launched with Kingfisher Airlines in June this year. We are envisaging a 100 per cent growth this year,” added Rao.