Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will be creating an industry-driven regulatory framework that will ensure the sanitization the country’s Value Added Service sector (VAS), which could be worth $200 million.
VAS is a popular telecommunications industry term for non-core services, or in short, all services beyond standard voice calls and faxes transmissions and is expected to grow to $500 million in just a few years.
It can also be used in any service industry at little or no cost to promote their primary business. In the telecommunication industry, value-added services add value to the standard service offering, spurring the subscriber to use their phone more and allowing the operator to drive up their Average Revenue Per User (ARPU).
For mobile phones, technologies like SMS, MMS and data access were historically usually considered value-added services, but in recent years SMS, MMS and data access have more and more become core services, and VAS therefore has begun to exclude those services.
Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said that the potential in the country’s VAS market during an interactive session with operators and mobile network operators (MNOs), on the regulatory framework for the VAS segment of the industry in Lagos.
“The exponential growth in the Nigerian telecom industry, in the last 12 years, has given rise to the evolution of the mobile phone from a device just to support communications requirement to a smart phone with the capacity to provide a plethora of services,” he said. “According industry experts, mobile VAS is currently worth over $200 million annually with huge potential to accelerate to $500 million in the next few years.”
Juwah also noted that the industry has witnessed some practices and behaviors in the VAS segment, which as individuals subscribers and as industry regulator have given us lot of concern.
“The commission has received avalanche of complaints from Nigerian subscribers regarding forceful activation of various value added services by service providers without explicit consent. Worse still, these services are auto-renewed resulting to perpetual look-in of subscribers by the VAS providers,” said the Vice Chairman.
Simon Aderinlola, the National Coordinating Consultant, Wireless Application Service Providers of Nigeria, WASPAN, empasized that the NCC should look into the area of revenue sharing among MNOs and VAS providers in its proposed regulation.
He also noted that there is a need for increased collaboration among NCC and operators to set up a central database centre where unsolicited VAS messages can be screened and monitored, adding that the regulator should protect the indigenous VAS players