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February 2010

Comviva: Major Provider of VAS solutions

Can you tell us about Comviva since the name change this year? We are a part of a big company named Bharti Enterprises and are like subsidiary for software. The name was changed form Bharti Telesoft to Comviva for 2 reasons. First reason being to avoid the confusion in the market where many times we get identified as the operator Bharti Airtel and thus hold a false recognition. Ours is a different management and we take care of the software part. The second reason was related to our global presence. Outside India we have more than 85 customers and this gives us an international identity. So we sensed the requirement of a new brand and then came with this new name. What are the products and solutions you offer? Comviva is a major provider of integrated VAS solutions for mobile operators globally. We are considered as one of the top three players in this arena. Integrated VAS refers to the broad range of VAS services that includes messaging, mobile commerce, voice based applications, etop-up, mobile advertising, loyalty management and mobile infotainment. Today we see some of our customers who are willing to share their investments on certain solutions to bring up some more revenue together. This is something Comviva has proposed and we have already started working with this model. Hence we bring a lot of flexibility when it comes to customizing and proposing

a business model. We are well recognized by most of the operators as solution providers to increase revenue. In addition to these, we have solutions that will radically reshape the operator network with our AVAN solutions which reduces network capacity utilizations by 50%. How do you evaluate the VAS trend in the Middle East region compared to a very high penetrating Indian market where a low margin is offered to a VAS provider? India is a different market and definitely there is a high potential for VAS need. In the GCC, markets are saturated with VAS services and they are expecting advanced services. We are capable of providing these advanced services. We visit the operators on a regular basis and propose new solutions according to the market need. In a region like North Africa where you have countries like Egypt, Sudan, Algeria and Afghanistan, there is a high demand for basic VAS solution. So we still have opportunities in both leagues. Tell us about your clients in the MENA region and the total revenue generated from VAS solutions. What is the share of Comviva from the total VAS revenue of this region? In the MENA region, we serve around 38 operators with our advance solutions. For an operator, the revenue contributed by VAS services alone is 25%. We believe that operators have already allocated a certain amount for VAS solutions in their budget. We estimate a figure of 250

million USD for VAS in this region and Comviva is aiming to win a share of 40 million USD in a period of 2 to 3 years. To achieve this we make ourselves well equipped with products and technologies which are derived from our R&D house. What are the key challenges in the VAS industry? Every new solution requires proper awareness among end users. For example, we have mobile gaming which represents less than 5% of the total VAS revenue. This is definitely going to increase in a period of 3 years time and we should be patient to see the results. We are ready to take this challenge even with this small margin to support us. As long as we provide these solutions in a simple way to the end user, he will be happy to use the same with no complications. The customers still have concerns on the usage of services like e-payment and mobile banking, where security is a major factor. It takes time for a customer to gradually adopt these services. What is your note on mobile marketing and advertising? There is a high potential in this area and we expect a steady growth from next year. Comviva aims to enable multiple ecosystem players to engage subscribers with highly personalized messages and campaigns. Operators can create innovative service bundles incorporating advertising messages that subsidize the cost of service usage bringing value to subscribers and the advertising industry. We

believe to approach this with a partnership with content providers and media agencies. Recently, during AfricaCom 09, Comviva was awarded for Best new services and Telecom innovation of the year. What can you tell us about this? The recognition was given to our product Virtual SIM. Some people cannot afford to buy a mobile device. We offer a solution wherein a person can use others mobile to call and use more services with his own virtual mobile number which is like a calling card. This product can be very useful in many rural African regions where not every one has a mobile phone. Further, we can enhance the service by providing money transfer and payment option which is very useful in places where there is no physical bank presence. Finally, do you have any future plans about Comviva that you can share with us? Comviva has been present in the region for over 8 years and our solutions are reaching over 130 million subscribers across the MENA. We have offices in Sharjah, Jordan, Saudi, Cairo and we have plans to expand further. Today we have around 11 people in the region and we look forward to increase the number to 20. There is a support hub in Jordan to serve MENA exclusively. We have all resources ranging from sales, pre-sales, technical operation, supporting team and this gives a lot of comfort to any operator as we are close to them. MENA for us is an important market and Comviva is committed to serve the potential buyers of this region.

Comviva is changing lives across the MENA with solutions that enhance lives and lifestyles. During GSM 3G Middle East, Telecom Review had a brief chat with Sabri Amireh, VP MENA region, Comviva, in which he sketched the companys progress in the region with their latest offerings.

Mr. Sabri Amireh, VP MENA region, Comviva

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