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Mobile content market opening up: Valista

Expects operators to reduce prices

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Valista has said that while mobile operators are continuing to hamper the growth of digital commerce through overcharging, the situation is changing.

Speaking on the day that the e-payments provider announced the appointment of John Lowry as its new chief executive, former CEO and founder Raomal Perera told ENN that the firm is experiencing extremely positive reactions to its new managed services offering.

Perera, who is now the Wicklow-based firm's executive chairman following his decision to step down as head honcho with Valista earlier this year, said that mobile operators in the US and Europe are finally beginning to look at reducing the share they demand from content revenues.

"The whole market is slowly opening up and operators are seeing the opportunities and are beginning to reduce their prices accordingly. In Japan for example, operators are only charging between 9 and 11 per cent of the transaction, whereas it can be as much as 40 per cent in Europe and the US," said Perera.

"Given the success of mobile content downloads in Japan we certainly see operators moving in that direction, and with more content providers coming on board the pressure is on operators to continue to reduce their share, something which has to happen in order for the market to flourish," he added.

Perera's comments coincided with a new forecast from research firm iSuppli which predicted that the market for premium mobile content will exceed $44bn by 2011.

Valista, which is a leading provider of merchandising, payments and settlement solutions, recently announced that it was shifting 50 per cent of its product development operations to Sri Lanka. However, Perera claimed that this wouldn't impact on the company's Irish workforce.

"We're increasing our R&D capabilities because the Sri Lankan group has grown, but this doesn't mean that the Irish group has shrunk. We think it's a good idea to have a number of development centres running and we've plenty of experience in running multiple sites."

Furthermore, Perera claimed that the support the company has received in Ireland had helped propel it into being a leading firm that's widely recognised overseas.

"Ireland is a very good environment to operate in and a great place to set up a company. I'm a big fan of Enterprise Ireland and the support that they've given us and other Irish companies. There are lots of advantages to being based in Ireland and these have helped us tremendously in winning new business opportunities."

The company, which was formally known as Network 365 prior to its merger with US payments specialist firm iPIN in 2003, claims to process more than 1 million transactions per day via its Valista Plus software suite. Valista's customers include NTT DoCoMo, AOL, Vodafone and Orange.

The most exciting part of our business right now is our managed services offering," said Perera. "We've already signed up two operators and a third is on the way, and there are a number of other prospects in the pipeline too. It's looking extremely promising and is something we're very excited about it because it's scalable in terms of being quick to sign people up and get them on the system."

On Thursday, the company announced that John Lowry is to become its new chief executive officer replacing Arlene Adams who has decided to leave Valista for personal reasons. Lowry has over 40 years' experience working in the IT and communications sectors.

"My ambition for Valista is to build on the success achieved in the mobile and broadband operator markets to become a significant player in digital commerce. I will do this by expanding Valista's market share with extended commerce offerings and entry into new markets around the world," said Lowry, in a statement.

© 2007 ENN

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