VAS Archives


My second presentation at the SATRC policy workshop moved into contentious territory. I was preceded by Principal Advisor to TRAI, Mr Sudheer Gupta, who presented the TRAI recommendation that the new category they describe as “application services” be subject to a form of authorization at the cost of INR 15,000 and transaction costs. Sri Lanka’s official representative challenged the need for licensing, which made me happy. But this is an area where no one has all the answers and it is good that SATRC has got the discussion going. I did not cover the last section of the slides because of lack of time.
In May LIRNEasia responded to a consultation on proposals for VAS licensing in Bangladesh. Our response received wide coverage too. It appears that we (among others) may have influenced the government’s response, as reported in the Daily Star. The telecom ministry will form a five-member panel to examine the issues related to mobile phone value-added service (VAS). The decision came yesterday at a meeting attended by Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and ministry officials and representatives of mobile operators and content developers.
The Financial Express has carried a story, based on the public-domain comments we submitted to the Ministry of Post and Telecom. Other than calling and sending text messages, the mobile phone operators offer series of services like downloading of music, ringtone, wallpaper and many others. These are generally known as VAS and being offered as optional services. Now the government has proposed to categorise VAS as a separate suite of service and bring it under a licensingregime in Bangladesh. If implemented, the mobile operators will have to outsource all value added services and discontinue offering any in-house product.
Response to the Draft VAS Guideline (BTRC/LL/VAS(391)/2012, dated 31-01-2012) LIRNEasia is a regional think tank that has, among other things, conducted research on VAS in Bangladesh. The comments below are based on (a) examination of the policy, regulatory and business issues pertaining to mobile VAS in the context of LIRNEasia’s 2008-2010 research program on mobile 2.0; and (b) detailed analysis of the practical experience of CellBazaar, a successful VAS developed in Bangladeshi conditions. The peer-reviewed journal article on a successful Bangladeshi value-added service, CellBazaar, is attached. LINK.