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Netxcell Limited: Key player in the MVAS space

May 26, 2015
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The mobile value-added services (MVAS) market in India is worth $9.5 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 22.13 per cent between 2013 and 2018. With the increasing adoption of smartphones and tablets, and the growing number of data users, the MVAS market offers huge growth opportunities for technology companies such as Netxcell Limited, which has been a pioneer in this space.

Netxcell, a part of the Prathima group of industries, was established in 2000. It has since emerged as a key player in the MVAS space. The company’s product portfolio includes innovative voice and data offerings such as campaign manager, unstructured supplementary service data-based provisioning, customer life cycle management (CLM), outbound dialler and voice chat. The company caters to various industry stakeholders including telecom operators, system integrators and enterprises. Its key clients include Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Idea Cellular, Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Tata DOCOMO, Ericsson and Wipro.

According to Debasis Chatterji, CEO, Netxcell, the company caters to about 450 million mobile subscribers through its voice and data offerings.  “Last year we had some new clients coming on board,” says Chatterji. “We signed on a major Indian operator for our CLM product and another leading operator for our campaign manager service in Africa. It was an exciting time as the company developed new in-house applications in the areas of real-time analytics, innovative tools to enable subscriber retention, etc. We also revamped our corporate website; hence, it was a year of innovation for us.”

For Netxcell, the key to success has been establishing close alliances and partnerships with industry stakeholders, particularly operators, at a time when the industry was witnessing a decline in the traditional content-based MVAS market. The company was quick to realise that the MVAS market was shifting towards data products and decided to forge closer alliances with operators in order to explore new revenue generation opportunities.

Netxcell has managed to get a strong foothold for itself in the telecom space by offering products such as CLM to operators. The product enables operators to provide real-time subscription services to 2G and 3G users. Through CLM, the company manages the entire pack provisioning solutions for its clients, and offers real-time alerts for system utilisation and breach of key service and performance indicators. CLM arms operators with real-time intelligence on subscriber trends and usage patterns, thereby enabling them to engage subscribers more efficiently and effectively.

Another focus area for Netxcell has been exploring international markets for new business. The company is particularly upbeat about Africa, where it is present in seven countries – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Sudan and Burundi. Netxcell offers products and services to operators such as Etisalat, Zantel Leo and MTN. Further, reinforcing its focus on Africa, the world’s fastest growing market for VAS/telecom with an annual mobile connection growth rate of about 17 per cent, Netxcell has tied up with Funmobile, a leader in the mobile content domain in West Africa. Through this partnership, the company offers MTN services such as voice chat, and information and subscription diallers in Nigeria. It also provides support for customer-related activities including registration, profile maintenance, filtration, connectivity (with Funmobile and MTN), usage, promotions and billing.

Challenges and the way forward

Over the past few years, traditional MVAS companies, which started out by offering SMS and interactive voice response (IVR) services to customers, have been facing competition not only from their counterparts but from operators as well. The majority of Indian operators have identified MVAS as a key industry for additional revenue generation and players such as Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India are now creating their own applications and content. For instance, both the operators have launched free music streaming applications for subscribers.

Operators’ aggressive push into the MVAS market has led traditional MVAS companies such as Netxcell, One97 Communications, Hungama and Mahindra Comviva to reinvent their business models. These companies are no longer offering basic voice- and IVR-based services to users; instead, they are evolving into internet companies that are using operators’ network to offer integrated solutions to operators.

Chatterji acknowledges that the dynamics of the Indian MVAS market are changing and that traditional and content-based VAS are declining while data consumption is rising. This is paving the way for innovative data-led services. He emphasises that Netxcell is prepared to take a lead in the MVAS revolution, as it is developing products and services to support the large-scale long term evolution (LTE) network roll-outs expected over the next one year. “VAS are no longer the traditional services offered by small players. We have always believed in being a first-mover when it comes to adapting to change. We are constantly developing cutting-edge and innovative products. One such offering will be to make our analytics platform VoLTE-ready, ahead of the market adoption of LTE and VoLTE in India,” he says.

 
 
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