The low awareness of value added services (VAS) restricted the growth of value added services in rural India, says a study carried out by Lirneasia, a regional information and communication technology (ICT) policy and regulation capacity-building organisation active across the Asia Pacific region.

Despite the huge network roll-out in rural areas and the intense low tariff war amongst the operators the study showed the usage of value added services in rural areas to just 1%. These rural areas have a mere 10% awareness of the mobile voting applications (competitions, real time polling, live participation in TV/radio programmes, etc).

The report states that users use their mobiles for missed calls, while some use it for messaging and checking balances. These findings could come as a dampener to the aspirations of telecom companies like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Vodafone and Idea Cellular that plan to increase their average revenue per user (ARPUs) by introducing mobile marketing or innovative VAS in the rural areas. The research also highlighted that the rural prepaid mobile owners at the Indian BOP travel 20 minutes more to top-up compared to the urban prepaid mobile owners who travel only 12 minutes.


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