Mobile VAS will empower India’s masses, IT minister says

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Indian Information Technology and Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal has said that even with a subscriber base of 899 million and 120 million Internet users, conducive regulatory environment is far from a saturation point.

“With a huge rural market waiting to be tapped, the Indian market is largely voice market. It is yet to see the dominance of Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS), which will change the dynamics and economics of this market,” Sibal said. “The MVAS market is expected to increase from $2.37 billion in 2010 to $9.4 billion by 2015, driven by the uptake of 3G services in urban as well as in rural areas.”

MVAS will the single most important tool for empowering the masses in India in the future, Sibal said, adding that value-added services — such as m-banking, m-education, m-health, m-governance, m-agriculture and location-based services — will be delivered to even the most remote corners of the country.

India’s government “is committed to empower the common man through cost-effective, reliable and high-quality telecom services with strong focus on MVAS,” Sibal said. “The sustainability of the growth of telecom services depends on strong and vibrant industry, empowered telecom consumers and strong and forward looking regulation. To build an ecosystem for sustainable growth of telecom services with a win-win approach, the draft (National Telecom Policy) 2011 is unveiled.”

India’s junior telecom minister, Milind Deora, said the real challenge in the telecom sector is to expand the rural subscriber base and Internet penetration in rural areas. Accordingly, the draft NTP 2011 envisions to achieve 100 percent rural teledensity and 600 million broadband connections by 2020, Deora said.

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