During the dot-com era of the late 1990s, many new phrases were coined as industry terms. One such phrase, value-added service, became and is now a part of everyday life when it comes to technology. For those unfamiliar, a value-added service is something that is added on to a core service. In telecommunications, it boils down to services such as voicemail, texting, and mobile data. These are considered value-added services as they are added on to the core mobile service which is your everyday mobile phone. Remember those? Phones that you used to actually call people? Since the invention of the smartphone, value-added services have become a part of every core mobile offering and has served as a catalyst for some companies to leave their mark in the telecom world.

Value added services have been a way to help retain and even steal away customers. Mobile carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have added on so many value-added services that many consumers see them as standard. This is not the case and in fact companies have struggled to keep up with such services. One of the first services to be offered by mobile carriers was voicemail. An easy way to let someone know you called or remind them of something important, voicemail became extremely popular beginning the late 1980s and carried through the 1990s. Gordon Matthews is considered the inventor of voicemail, selling the system to major corporations that included Intel, 3M, and Kodak to name a few. His system of voicemail was sold along with his company VMX and later became part of now defunct Lucent Technologies before it was sold to Avaya.

With many mobile carriers not having the in house technology to provide voicemail services, they sought out companies such as CALLUP NET, an Israeli-based telecommunication company founded in 1999. CALLUP NET provided (and still provides) mobile operators with the ability to integrate voicemail and a number of other value-added services. The company has not only kept up with technology that it has been able to offer mobile carriers, but also recently began offering its services in a cloud-based platform, one of the first companies to do so. With value-added services becoming readily available to mobile operators in the late 1990s, offering such services became a way to capture new subscribers.

StreamWIDE, another value-added service provider, has capitalized on the market for the last decade. Founded in 2001, it helps mobile operators implement value-added services that can be offered to their subscribers. The more value-added services that can be offered by a mobile carrier, the more likely they are to gain new subscribers. The more subscribers a company signs up, the more infrastructure they need to maintain these value-added services. The more infrastructure they need……..well, you get the picture.

Some companies who have persevered through the dot-com bubble have now brought value-added service in-house. For example, AT&T not only offers value-added services to its mobile subscribers, it also offers these services to other companies. Its main value-added services include wholesale conference calling as well as hosting and cloud computing services. AT&T is able to recoup the cost of providing these services to its mobile subscribers by selling the services to other providers.

In order to keep up revenue and not get drowned out by the AT&Ts of the world, companies have had to stay ahead of the times. Going back to CALLUP NET, the company ventured into the world of visual voicemail, a service that was previously only offered by Vonage to its VoIP landline customers. Visual voicemail translates your voicemail and displays the message on your smartphone or computer so that you do not have to actually access your voicemail and listen to a message. Features such as these are desirable by consumers and have allowed value-added service providers to maintain revenue, despite some companies now offering services in-house.

Based on consumer demand for better technology, value-added service companies are going to continue to make out big. Although companies such as AT&T have the money to implement such services in-house, independent companies such as CALLUP NET and StreamWIDE have the research and development to get these services to the market quicker. With each new offering your mobile carrier makes, keep in mind that there is a company on the backend that you never heard of, keeping your mobile carrier in business.


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