VAS TOP10: #6 One97―Loads to Offer

In 2000, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, managing director and promoter, founded One97. Sharma is a first-generation entrepreneur with more than 10 years of experience in the telecom and new media industries. One97 is a leading provider of VAS to telecom service providers (TSPs) and enterprise customers. It develops and procures content and applications to provide the relevant platform for delivery of VAS products and services.

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These platforms are integrated with the core network elements of TSPs. These applications can be deployed on any telecom network and accessed through most of the mobile handsets. One97 utilizes interactive voice response (IVR) system, short message services (SMS), unstructured supplementary services data (USSD), and wireless application protocol (WAP) technology to deliver products and services. Its business segments include network, consumer, and enterprise services, which contributed 53.5%, 35.7%, and 10.8% to 3 quarters of FY10 revenues, respectively. In 3 quarters of FY10, the company’s top client contributed 27% to the total revenue.

The company received funding from Intel Capital, Softbank Asia Infrastructure Fund (SAIF) Partners, and Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). One97 emerged as an integrated VAS provider to TSPs. Unlike other VAS providers, One97’s VAS services are also focused on the cost side of TSPs. These services include customer life cycle management, target marketing, outbound dialing (OBD) services, and unstructured supplementary services data (USSD) gateways and SMS centers (SMSC).

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One97 also offers a broad range of mobile content, applications, and commerce services to the consumers directly. These services include: music, picture and text based content, segmented content (text and voice based) contests, quizzes, puzzles, pay through mobile, phone security/data back-up, and social networking website.

Depending on the content or application, One97 sells consumer services on a subscription basis and/or a per transaction basis. ‘Pay through mobile’ is a mobile commerce platform for consumers and enterprises, which enables mobile phone users to make payments through their mobile phones in a secure and easy manner. In July 2010, PayTM Mobile launched a website for selling prepaid mobile recharges directly to the mobile subscribers.

PayTM Mobile generates revenue through the sale of its own products (ie, mobile VAS content) or through commissions earned from the resale of products (eg, mobile recharges) of third party merchants such as telecom service providers. The revenues generated from providing PayTM services are on a per transaction basis.

One97’s content and applications are provided to subscribers of 9 TSPs in India, 2 TSPs in Afghanistan, and 1 TSP in Nigeria. As on December 31, 2010, One97 had approximately 23.3 mn subscribers for its consumer services. One97 develops majority of the content in-house, some are procured from content providers from whom it purchases distribution rights for the content.

On the enterprise-side, the company uses telecom networks as a media platform to assist enterprises with customer communication, self-care solutions, and brand services. These enterprise services include: SMS pull service, voice portals, auto dialer, SMS outbound campaign, mobile payment services, and developing WAP sites. One97 also combines different services into one product to satisfy the particular demands of an enterprise. It typically charges for enterprise services on a per transaction fee basis (sometimes with a minimum monthly commitment), project fee basis, rental basis, maintenance fee basis, or a combination of these bases.

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One97 operates in India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. It plans to expand its geographic presence by leveraging its expertise and track record in the Indian market. It initially intends to expand in markets that are similar to India such as South East Asia, Africa, and a few pre-paid minutes-dominated European countries. It also intends to harness its relationship with Indian TSPs so as to sell its network and consumer services to their associated networks outside India.

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