When India’s telecom regulator came up with a set of guidelines to prevent telcos from tricking users into buying value added services like caller tunes and “dirty jokes,” no one really realized awesome it could get. Until now.
According to a new report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the number of consumer complaints alleging activation of VAS without consent went down to one 8th of the number of complaints it received in the previous month. In August, less than 10,000 such complaints were made where as in July, the number was over 75,000.
Total number of VAS related complaints also saw a sharp decline by nearly 50%. In July, there were 1.85 lakh complaints as compared to 95510 complaints in August.
Meanwhile, the total number of VAS activations have also gone down significantly, implying that telcos are tricking users into subscribing VAS services.
The number of activations in April, May and June were at an average of over 66 million. In July and August, it dropped sharply to about 30 million and 28 million respectively.
Essentially, the customers of VAS have gone down by half. The industry has really shrunk in the last two few months. In March, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI) had released a report saying that the industry is set to grow at 25% between 2012 to 2015 to reach $9.5 billion by 2015. The report pegged market size of VAS in India in 2012 at $4.9 bn. That seems to be wildly off the mark now. It also brings into question the credibility of such reports.