Mobile VAS

What is VAS?

A value-added service (VAS) is any other service beyond standard voice calls and fax transmissions over a telecommunication network. VAS is a popular telecommunications industry term for non-core services.

As a matter of fact, the major function of a phone from inception is to make call. Therefore, everything pertaining to making a call happen is refereed to as core service. Every other value you derive from using a phone apart from making a call is called Value-Added Service (VAS). Value-added services add value to the standard service offering, making subscribers to use their phone more.

Categories of VAS in Nigeria

  1. Entertainment-Premium rate messages, subscription service for TV and radio polling, games, chat, quizzes.
  2. Marketing- Premium billed contest, subscription services, group functions, incentives and promotions
  3. Advertising-Drive purchases to target markets, create affinity groups and ongoing communications of new products using broadcast (TV, Radio), print (online, newspaper, magazine)
  4. Commerce- Transaction fees for the redemption of coupons, point of sale purchases and micro payments; subscriber rate plans.
  5. Generally, some form of mobile Value Added Service to be provided include; Text messages, Picture messages, Ring tones, Graphics, Games, Mobile Internet Sites, Videos, Multimedia, Call Directory and Call Centre services.

In addition, value-added services are supplied either in-house by the mobile network operator (MNO) themselves or by a third-party value-added service provider (VASP), also known as a content provider (CP) such as MTech or Betazoo.

Who is a VAS Provider (VASP)

A Value Added Service (VAS) Provider is any person or organization that engages in
the provision of value added mobile/fixed services, including premium rated services.
The VAS providers will have to sign a contract with a network operator enabling the
provision of such services.   – NCC

VASPs typically connect to the operator using protocols like Short message peer-to-peer protocol (SMPP), MAP, CUAP connecting either directly to the short message service centre (SMSC), USSDC or, increasingly, to a messaging gateway that gives the operator better control of the content.

In Nigeria, VAS is big business and the most popular VAS is probably caller ring back tunes. The Nigerian VAS industry, estimated to be worth $200 million in 2014, now has a value of $1 billion. Due to rapidly declining average revenue per user for voice calls, which since 2004 has decreased from just over $15 per month per subscriber to a new low of $4 due to the current economic crisis, mobile network operators (MNO) have increased efforts to generate revenue through VAS.

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