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Targeted Offerings: Leveraging MVAS to boost operator revenues

November 10, 2015
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By Rajesh Razdan, Founder and CEO, mCarbon

As per an India Brand Equity Foundation report, India is the second largest telecommunications market with the third largest base of internet users across the world. The country’s teledensity (the number of telephone connections per 100 users) stood at a whopping 79.67 per cent during 2014-15. This indicates a huge opportunity for a revenue surge for telecom operators. With these numbers, India’s telecom sector is set to emerge as a leading player in the virtual world. In a report by Microsoft, India has been envisioned with the potential of having almost 700 million internet users by 2025. Furthermore, favourable government regulations and the deployment of 4G services have catapulted the Indian telecom sector towards growth.

Along with the opportunities in the sector, there are also challenges related to maintaining high operational profits and combating fierce market competition. Managing churn, building customer loyalty and simultaneously increasing ARPUs are the major concerns that various mobile value-added service (MVAS) innovators are working to address.

Today, operators are working on creating an experience and not just a service or a product in the market. Changing the market dynamics and emerging as an additional revenue arm, value-added services (VAS) have shown a sharp growth in recent times with the advancements in technology and growing consumer awareness. VAS has not only grown over time but also walked alongside, if not ahead, of the ever-changing telecom industry. MVAS accounts for a very large portfolio, including multimedia messaging services, location-based services, banking services, e-governance services, social networking, instant messaging services, mobile app services, and video and music services. It not only breaks the traditional voice-only revenue plateau but also helps in creating value for the user.

This highly adaptive market has reformed itself as per the needs of operators, and now MVAS is not only about content aggregation using the traditional methods of SMS and voice, but a lot more. The new version of MVAS is about contextual products leading to targeted marketing, with the offerings being enabled by usage analytics and predictive modelling. The boom that can be seen in the MVAS market is due to various innovative contextual solutions aimed at increasing revenue for telecom operators.

mCarbon was one of the first players to identify the problem of customer dormancy on networks. It thus crafted solutions specifically designed to increase customer affinity and operator revenue. Its flagship product, Airtime Advance and Credit, has made it a successful partner for operators that are looking to reduce churn, increase engagement and, consequently, create a revenue surge. This micro-lending platform allows a subscriber to request an advance from the operator every time a need arises, thus generating surplus minutes of usage on the network. A user can employ multiple channels like USSD, IVR, SMS, PCN or mobile application to request for this emergency top-up. When accepted, the loan is made available immediately, with the period of validity as defined by operator to operator. It is subsequently recovered when the subscriber next tops up the account. Thus, Airtime Advance and Credit helps operators increase revenue by creating a possible business opportunity.

The loan extended to the user is based on data analytics like usage patterns and age on network, among others. These parameters are then taken into account to give the user a credit rating and extend a loan amount. The core of mCarbon’s innovation is dependent on analysing raw data that flows in from devices, along with internet usage patterns and the meaningful insights generated from them. The raw data provides opportunities and touch points for operators and m-commerce companies to provide space for impulsive transactions. A better user experience helps increase brand loyalty, thus reducing user churn. This data not only helps enhance the user experience, but also provides an opportunity to create products and designs as per user preferences. The intelligent retry algorithm and dynamic business rules that are used to provide a loan have been carefully advised to address the issues of bad debt and lost revenue in particular.

With the change in usage patterns, conventional jargon like ARPU has lost its charm and is not compatible with generating a 360-degree subscriber view. The advancement of internet-based services and faster data operations have shifted the focus towards data services for revenue and customer experience rather than conventional text and voice services. Real-time analysis provides deeper insights into user experience and satisfaction levels, and also helps determine the value of relationships.

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