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  • Mobile VAS Evolution

    Mobile VAS Evolution in Iran and middle east

    The are 3 major waves for mobile value added services evolution:

    1st Wave
    The earliest forms of mobile VAS included SMS, together with a limited range of pre-loaded monophonic ringtones and basic productivity tools such as personal organizers and calendars.

    2nd Wave
    Other services introduced during the second wave of mobile VAS development included mobile music that could be accessed through handsets incorporating digital media players. Meanwhile, a range of mobile tools for business users included services such as push e-mail.

    3rd Wave
    In the more recent third wave of mobile VAS development, technologies such as EDGE, UMTS and HSPA have revolutionized the sort of mobile content that can be offered. Downloadable ringtones, games and music, mobile wallpapers, video downloads and caller tunes have become popular with the mass market. Compared with other regional mobile markets, Iran can be considered to be at an early stage in the deployment of mobile VAS. Although all of the country’s mobile operators offer basic voice-based VAS such as call forwarding, call barring, caller ID (call line identification presentation, or CLIP), conference calling and voicemail, the market for data services has, until recently, been mostly limited to SMS. Since the start of 2007, Iran’s operators have begun to install GPRS over their existing mobile networks. Recent studies have found that data-based mobile VAS are growing in popularity, underpinning a belief that the market has strong growth potential. It is still early days for the development of MMS and other multimedia services in Iran. The potential for these and other mobile VAS to develop is significant. MMS usage is not growing as quickly as in other markets that have introduced the service, but this may reflect the impact of government attempts to control the use of the technology.

    About the future of VAS in not only Iran, but also the whole Middle East, there are some points that we can consider:

    - Mobile operators will lose prominence in the value chain as the market for Content. Aggregators will consolidate and with their better bargaining power, this will ensure a revenue shift from Operators to Aggregators in the value chain.
    - In VAS content, we will see revenue from entertainment VAS come down from the levels. End users want control and interactivity and therefore the applications to look out for in future will be user generated content and mCommerce. However mobile gaming will continue to grow and will contribute a higher share to the VAS pie. Regional content is giving a significant boost to the content market especially in the entertainment category. Regional content is getting popular both in voice and non- voice services. Players have anticipated the trend and this is leading to regional content development.
    - Internet on mobile will become a more feasible option as leading players in the internet content space especially configure their sites for access through mobiles; this would be further strengthened by the new trend of .mobi domain being set up. Thus GPRS usage should pick up significantly

    And finally, regarding the facts that:

    - Mobile phones today have moved beyond their fundamental role of communications.

    - Users buy mobile phones not just to be in touch, but to express themselves, their attitude, feelings & interests.
    - There exists a vast world beyond voice that needs to be explored.
    We can conclude that the mobile phone subscribers are beginning to choose their operators on the basis of the value added services they offer.