Here are some measures that need to be taken in the short-term:
- SMS interconnect charge issue resolution
- Better implementation of national do not call (NDNC) registry
- Short code registry to make short codes like domain names so they can be centrally registered and can work across all operators
- DoT to accept TRAI MVAS recommendations submitted in February 2009
- Local Indian languages to be supported on all handsets
Over the long-term, there are more actions which can help grow the industry:
- Open access / net neutrality; enablement/recognition of off-deck MVAS players. What this means is that mobile operators should not block any voice / SMS / WAP service offered by a third party.
- Dispute redressal authority (may also need light licencing for MVAS cos.). Today, if there is a dispute between an MVAS company and a mobile operator, the only option is the court. Ideally, TDSAT should be able to take up these issues, but TDSAT only deals with telecom licene holders, hence there may be a need for a light VAS licence.
- Billing consumers via operator cash balance at sub-15% fee for off-deck players. This will kickstart mCommerce in this country. A related provision which needs amendment is that operators have to pay 23% tax (service tax and the spectrum/WPC charges combined) on anything they bill to the consumer. This needs to be relaxed in the case of billing for non-telecom services.
For on-deck services, operators can charge what they want and do whatever revuenue shares they want with VAS players. The future of the MVAS industry lies in the facilitation of growth for off-deck services.
So, what is the potential for the MVAS industry in the years to come in India? And what is the bigger opportunity?