The non-voice segment in mobile telephony grew by 139 per cent year-on-year in 2004 and contributed about 4.7 per cent of the mobile service revenues estimated at Rs 14,560 crore (Rs 145.6 billion), according to a report released by IDC on Thursday.
"The market has grown rapidly because of the increasing awareness and acceptance of mobile value-added services and applications among subscribers," said Mugdh Rajit, analyst, Communication Research, IDC (India).
According to the report, though non-voice revenue in India was well below international levels, it was quickly catching up.
"With a mobile subscriber base of over 47 million at the end of 2004 and an annual growth of over 100 per cent, the Indian market is one of the fastest growing in the Asia-Pacific zone. Traditionally, the thrust of the service providers was on offering only vanilla voice services but the declining average revenue per user and also the margins on voice calls have made them think of alternate revenue streams with better margins. And data services seem to be the first choice of all the operators," the report said.
The report has segmented the non-voice market into three categories, short messaging service, multimedia messaging service and other data services.
"SMS, which generated Rs 965 crore (Rs 9.65 billion), was the biggest contributor to the overall revenues of the non-voice market and is expected to remain so in the near future. MMS services have not yet picked up as expected because of the lack of compatible handsets and the high cost of service," the report said.
The report also noted that with regard to other data services, monophonic ring tones were the most popular with an annual traffic of over 19 million, while polyphonic tunes and other downloads were fast catching up and were expected to grow much faster once more compatible handsets were available at a lower cost.
Other data services like wallpapers, ring tones and games are the fastest growing segments in the non-voice space. This will be one space to watch out for.Though the present size is only around Rs 191 crore (Rs 1.91 billion), it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 65 per cent to reach Rs 2,302 crore (Rs 23.02 billion) by 2008," the report added.