Mobile Value Added Services (mVAS) are services provided by mobile operators in addition to the voice communication service.
The most popular mVAS services are SMS (or texting as they are known in US), MMS (multimedia messaging service), instant messaging services, games, online storage, e-mail, content streaming (TV, radio and music), custom ring tone directories, money transfers and more.
Mobile Value Added Services help mobile operators to retain customers via providing additional services that they charge for apart from a regular mobile data packages. In a situation when two mobile operators have the same signal coverage for a certain area, the one that provides mVAS has an advantage on its competitors.
The challenges that mVAS companies face are caused by competition with established service providers mobile users don’t feel the need to swap for any others. An example would be providing a music streaming service to customers who are quite happy with their Apple Music or Spotify subscription.
The other one would be privacy, when providing a mVAS service would require a mobile operator to collect users personal data. In the light of recent data breaches, it becomes progressively harder for mobile operators to win / retain their users trust to be able to collect that data.
The biggest mVAS providers are – US-based: AT&T, Verizon, European – Vodafone, China-based: China Telecom, Chine Unicom, China Mobile, India-based: Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
In 2016, the Mobile Value Added Services market in Americas alone was $95 billion, with the global market size to reach $100 billion by 2021. The geographical split in 2016 looked the following: 28.2% belonged to Americas, 17.84% to EMEA and 53.69% to APAC.
The major dimension that defines the dynamics of mVAS companies growth is the number of people who are subscribed to mobile operators worldwide. By 2020 AT&T had 183 million subscribers, Verizon had 120 million, Vodafone – over 700 million, China Telecom – 351 million. In many areas, especially in Africa and rural areas of US, mobile operators still have technical hurdles to connect more people to their telecommunication services. Those hurdles are caused by the lack of cell towers to cover areas properly, that are either hard to install as local population may object on the grounds of their alleged – but having zero scientific proof – harm to a human health or technical challenges that specific areas may present.
The key factor that is and will be facilitating mVAS development and growth – the 5G technology. With a superior speed, low latency, enhanced capacity, increased bandwidth 5G tech allows mobile operators to enhance existing mVAS, as well as to launch new ones, previously non-feasible with 4G.