In parallel with the online universe the Russian mobile world is emerging fast. In 2006 the Russian value-added services (VAS) market developed steadily, and continued its growth in 1Q 2007, reaching USD 615 million, a 34% year-on-year growth, reported ComNews Research. All three major players of the VAS market, operators, content providers (CP) and aggregators, also as subscribers are growing with it. Major Russian mobile operators introduced more aggressive and assertive policies within the VAS scene, launching new WAP-portals and Estonia phone number list services and severely reducing the amount of content partners. The VAS share in operators’ overall revenue structure reached 14% in 1Q 2007. With the launch of the primary 3G networks in 2007-2008, Russian operators will only increase their content offering. Consolidation and stricter policy by operators cut the amount of core content providers to 80-100 companies. Last year CPs honed their skills in providing IVR and RBT services, pushing for more video content, mobile games and community services.
Major CPs pushed for better quality content offering, introduction of latest products and global market expansion. Today the winning formula of the Russian VAS market is ensuring content quality and diversification of products and services. IVR, SMS-based TV lotteries, RBT and mobile games starred within the hottest and successful content services section. IVR services caught the “Lady Luck” of revenues in 2006. Furthermore, continuous WAP penetration growth, mobile community services and user-generated content all promised that this year are going to be positive.
However, the otherwise resurgent market has its pinch of salt. Piracy is on the increase , while low content quality and SMS-spam remained a big obstacle to the market’s faster development. Finally, remaining high WAP-traffic rates and operators’ high revenue shares function the extra burden to the market evolution.
What’s the Name of the Game?
Navel Rosenberg, Head of Department of Products and Services, MTS, noted at the last Mobile Content Forum held in Moscow in June 2007 that “we have changed the principles of the sport .” While before MTS, the most important Russian mobile b2c phone list operator, had 250-300 content partners, the analysis showed that 70% of all revenues come from 15 major partners, 20% from 20 CPs and 10% from 35 partners. As a result, MTS ceased contracts with ineffective partners, thus cutting their overall partner number to about 100 companies. And this is often just about an equivalent situation for its rivals, VimpelCom and MegaFon.