ICT & Audiotex
ICT development consists to provide any information/content service in various form (audio, text, video, …) and to facilitate its on-line access to the greatest number of end-users under transparent and non-discriminatory conditions. The objective of each ICT development is to enable the creation of added value for the service provider as well as the end-users.
Mobile VAS are services accessible from users via their mobile handsets through different types of channel: Voice, SMS, USSD, WAP.
Audiotex means a category of mobile VAS enabling end-users to access information/content via Voice, SMS or USSD bearer by originating a voice call / sending a text message to a specific virtual number (Longcode or Shortcode) in Pull mode or by receiving a voice call / text message in Push mode.
Virtual number means an IP based number dedicated to VAS services. It can be a common Longcode in the form of long number range at a specific end-user tariff, or a common Shortcode in the form of 3/4/5-digits short numbers range at premium rated tariff.
As such, taking into consideration the high penetration rate of mobile handsets adoption compared to the use of PC devices, it clearly appears that audiotex sector represents a key component in the ICT Value Chain, and can intensively contribute to the economic and social development of the country.
In the scope of the liberalization of the VAS in favor of the ICT development in Africa, the Audiotex services market need to be structured, for the following benefits:
- The development in large scale of 3rd party audiotex services, accessible to all mobile subscribers in the country at the same end-user tariff per service offered ;
- The facilitation of the promotion of the service by the communication of a unique number/ shortcode to the public by the third party VAS Providers;
- The remuneration of the third party VAS Providers on revenue sharing basis if applicable.
The main functions of the key-players of the mobile VAS/Audiotex Ecosystem, are described as follows:
- End-Users: Consumers accessing and using the service via their mobile terminals at a specific cost charged by their respective MNO.
- Mobile Network Operators (MNOs): They are responsible for the transport of the traffic originated from / terminated to their subscribers up to /from the POI of the Aggregator and for the billing and revenue collection.
- VAS numbers services Aggregator : He is a licensed Telecom VAS Provider providing & operating Common Shortcodes at premium rated tariffs over SMS/USSD/IVR bearers, across multiple MNOs, assigned to each interactive mobile services branded by third party VAS Providers, on a revenue sharing basis. He can also provide Longcodes over SMS/IVR bearers.
- Wireless Application Service Providers (WASPs): They are non-licensed services providers, providing the dedicated mobile application platforms to the VAS Provider, for the development of the mobile service over a particular bearer: SMS, IVR, USSD.
- VAS Providers (VASPs): They are the owners of each particular mobile service, responsible for the promotion and advert of the service, which can be MNOs or third parties.
- Content Providers: They produce and source different types of content in native format on mobile terminal format (text, audio, picture, video,..).
In most of the countries in Africa, it appears that the position of the VAS numbers services Aggregator is missing, which result to the very low development of the mobile VAS market by very few VAS Providers.
This is why GTS Africa was created in order to bridge the gap between a huge potential numbers of third party VAS Providers and mobile end-users in various African countries.
The deployment of our Audiotex infrastructure in each country is conditioned by the following requirements:
- Acquisition from the Regulator of Audiotex or special numbering services license with blocks of VAS virtual numbers organized on different tariff bands.
- Establishment of interconnectivity agreements with each mobile operator for the activation and operation of the virtual numbers over SMS, IVR and USSD channels on revenue sharing basis if applicable, depending on the cost of transport applied by each operator and the end-user tariff.