Introduction

FREE SMS messaging service for India only that may prove to be incredibly useful for citizen groups and NGOs. The service allows anyone to set up a group of mobile subscribers to message to, or for a group to message each other many-to-many. A user can receive news alerts and blog updates via SMS, for example; or a group can group-text message to each other.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Now, get SMS alerts free of cost!

Heralding a sign of times to come, a mobile solutions provider has begun delivering SMS alerts free-of-cost to cellular users across the country. Other companies are expected to follow suit, resulting in making mobile services further affordable.

The company - Mumbai-based Netcore Solutions - provides around 20 SMS-based channels like news, Sensex, cricket, jokes, horoscope and Bollywood free-of-cost to subscribers, irrespective of the operator or the circle. Further, these services are available across all the 23 circles in the country.


SMS is the most used service on a mobile phone, next only to voice, and this has prompted the company to tap into the potential of the medium.

The company has launched free alerts for users and tied up with mobile operators to offer the service. Compare this with the existing practise in the industry, where a service provider levies a minimum of Rs 30 per month for each channel of SMS.

"The mobile phone is a true convergence device which would shortly replace the TV and the computer and text messaging is the most potent medium to reach large addressable audience in the shortest span of time," Abhijit Saxena, CEO, Netcore said.

Netcore Solutions is providing the service under its brand 'Mytoday Dailies' and is available on request. A user needs to subscribe to the service by sending an SMS to a pre-designated number (9845398453) with the text START followed by the name of service (Like NEWS or JOKES).

According to Saxena, registration is mandatory. Even though it is a

recently-launched service, the company sends out around 8 million SMSes per day to around 2.5 million subscribers. It is also adding around 20,000 new subscribers every day.

Currently, Netcore has limited the number of SMSes to two per channel per day – one in the morning and one in evening. This is based on customer surveys, said Saxena, adding there are no plans to increase the frequency, unless there is demand.

Netcore Solutions, which has a tech team of around 110 personnel working in Mumbai [ Images ] and Bangalore, is looking at recovering its expenses for providing the service through advertisements.

Below the text of the subscribed content, it provides advertisements and links to the websites of the advertisers. It has roped in Birla Sun Life Insurance, Tata Sky, Nokia, Prudential ICICI [ Get Quote ] and Moneycontrol.com among others as advertisers.

What next? As this service has become operational, the company is looking at concentrating on SMS-based mobile blogging and chat sessions

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Google : ‘We Aim to Bring Another 3 b Online in 10 Yrs’


For internet giants such as Google, emerging markets represent the next billion users 
to get online . Lalitesh Katragadda heads Google's research for emerging markets (EMs), which includes India, Asia, Africa and Latin America. In an interview with Harsimran Julka and N Shivapriya, Katragadda says he ensures barriers such as language do not prevent millions of new users from getting online. 


How is Google Search becoming more social? 
From Search to YouTube to Gmail, all our products are becoming social. Google + is just the face of our social strategy. It is easy to find answers to 80-90% of the world's queries. It's the next 10-20% of queries that make you a game 
changer. Social search is making web more fun. 
What is the challenge Google has set for itself in India and other EMs? 
The challenge before us is to make the next 3 billion people go online in the next decade. In India, we have a target of getting the next 200 million users go online from the current 100-120 million. India also has about 150 million English speakers. And there is a dogma in India that English and IT are important, if your child has to make it anywhere. India will be able to easily achieve 150 million users but to reach about 300-500 million users is a big task and we won't be able to reach there unless we break the Indic barrier. The next web is going to be mobile, it's going to be Indic. 
Is lack of proper input devices preventing internet penetration? 
Yes. That's why we are pushing Android so 
hard. When we can make a grandmom use internet without using a keyboard, I think we can make the next leap. In future, people may not type, they may just speak. The problem is that we have good speech recognition engines for English but not for the Indic languages. It is a problem we are trying to solve. 
harsimran.julka@timesgroup.com 


Ufone sweeps industry with its ‘5 Star SMS Offer’

Islamabad—Ufone has always been the market leader in the SMS segment and offers the lowest priced SMS bundles to its valued customers. Thesepackages offer unique discounts and have been designed to meet the specific needs of the customers. Keeping the ongoing trend alive, Ufone has now introduced 5 Star SMS Offer.

Now Ufone valued customers can enjoy 500 SMS free to any network, at any time. To avail free SMS all users have to do is to send 5 SMS on any given day and receive 500 SMS absolutely free for the rest of the day. There is no opt-in or subscription charges applicable for this promotion.

Free SMS are valid for all local SMS only i.e. International SMS will be charged as per tariff plan. The offer is valid for non-bucket users only as their initial SMS are not being charged. This offer is for prepaid users only.

Speaking at the launch Mr. Akbar Khan, Chief Marketing Officer at Ufone, said that the need to understand the expectations of the customers has always been the top most priority at Ufone. The 5 star SMS offer will provide relief to those who wish to economize. This affordable package will fulfill the communication needs of Ufone's customers. It is our aim and promise to the valued customers that Ufone will continue to provide the most innovative and customer friendly services in the country.

Monday, July 23, 2012

SMSSheep.com Joins the Ranks of Free SMS Sites and Quickly Takes a Large Percentage of Market Share

Columbus, OH -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/18/2012 -- SMSSheep.com is one of newest free SMS sites online and it is quickly becoming a consumer favorite. The website has been the talk of Facebook and Twitter since it launched a few months ago as more than six-thousand consumers have clicked on the website's Facebook 'Like' button. It gets even better with Twitter as more than twenty-seven thousand users have used Twitter to spread the word about the new website. 

The website's research and develop team predicated they would receive a couple thousand users in the first few months, but they weren't prepared for the massive amount of people using it. It's one of the few free SMS sites that just keeps growing by leaps and bounds day-by-day. 

There are hundreds if not thousands of free SMS sites online, but not all of them allow consumers to send an unlimited amount of messages. One of the reasons the site is growing so fast is there are no restrictions whatsoever. Users don't even have to submit their email address or any other kind of personal identification such as their private phone number or email address. 

"Your website simply awesome. I lost my cell phone and I had to send an important message to my girlfriend. When a friend told me about your website I immediately got online and sent my message. I got a new phone now but I still use your site to send my text messages because it is easier than using my cell phone's little keys.

Not all SMS services are free and fast. A message sent from SMSSheep.com goes through instantly to any mobile phone in the world. The website's developers created the site using the same SMS technology that's used on mobile phones. The website's chief executive officer said, "We wanted to create a free text messaging site and we wanted it to be international so our users can send messages to their friends and family in Italy or Romania". 

About The SMS Sheep
The SMS Sheep website was created to allow people to send unlimited text messages to any mobile phone in the world. There is no need to register or provide any personal information. Sending messages is quick and easy and the website's creators only ask that people spread the word about the website to their friends and family members.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Google Inc (GOOG) Introduces Free SMS Service For African Countries

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has announced a free Google SMS service that will allow users from some African countries to send and receive text messages without an Internet connection. For now, this service is only available to users from Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya and will potentially be available in other parts of the world where internet communication is not as accessible. This service has been launched primarily to support developing countries that have difficulty to sending and receiving emails.

With the advent of laptops and especially with smartphones, access to email systems has hugely improved, making it possible to send and receive messages anywhere, anytime. However, this requires an active Internet connection and suitable equipment, which is not affordable for people in many under-developed countries. The idea of this free SMS service is to provide the basic messaging facility to some of these people.

According to reports, Google SMS works on any mobile phone regardless if its model or make. The only requirement is to have a Gmail account which is needed to complete the registration process and to activate the service. Google Inc (GOOG) has stressed this service is free, which means there are no additional cost on top of the standard rates for sending SMS.

How this works?

The new Google Inc service connects the Gmail inbox to the mailbox of a mobile phone that has been connected with the service for the email synchronization. When somebody sends the registered member an email to his Gmail account, the SMS service converts that email into plain text and forwards it to the mobile account connected. Users can view the full text version of email and can reply using the same phone. Conversely, the reply gets delivered to receiver's Gmail account in the form of an email.

Google's initiative opens the door to many users who have no access to internet or a smartphone, allowing them to use an email service. Increasing opportunities for access to Gmail is conducive to people familiar with the use of relevant technology.

Monday, July 16, 2012

ForgetMeNot Africa Launches Job Xpress On Glo Mobile


Enlarge image
etxt ForgetMeNot Africa

VENTURES AFRICA – In a bid to reduce the rising rate of youth unemployment in Africa, Job Xpress – a new internet-free SMS-based job application app has been launched by ForgetmeNot Africa.

The app allows mobile subscribers to send their resumes and job applications via phone regardless of the model.

According to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) recent report on unemployment in Africa, about 40 million African youths are currently unemployed; about 60 percent of the continent's unemployed demography.

With the new app, ForgetMeNot Africa and its partners will be able to address the challenges posed by difficulties, time constraints and high cost of internet connection especially in cybercaf├ęs.

Speaking on the mobile application, ForgetMeNot Africa's Chief Executive Officer, Jeremy George said the app will help Africa turn its human capital into economic opportunities.

"The OECD's research showed that a major concern for many young Africans is that jobs are only given to people with connections or relatives. Job Xpress helps to level the playing field by giving job applicants a direct method of application, and is a step towards tackling barriers to employment that currently affects young, bright and eager to work Africans," he said.

Job Xpress is already gaining popularity in Africa. Recently, the app was adopted by Nigerian telecommunication giant, Glo Mobile whose head of mobile services, Salisu Saliu lauded the app developers.

"The app vitally helps young people in their efforts to get their foot on the first rung of the career ladder and is a contribution to reducing the dreadful levels of unemployment amongst young Nigerian people," he said.

 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Free SMS alert scheme for fishermen

BHUBANESWAR: After farmers, now fishermen in Odisha would soon receive SMS alerts about various government-sponsored schemes, climate warning and market price of fish on their cell phones.

National Federation of Fishermen's Cooperatives Ltd ( Fishcofed), an apex body of fishery cooperatives under the administrative control of the Union ministry of agriculture, has joined hands with Iffco Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL) and Odisha fisheries department to roll out the advisory service in the state.

On Bharti Softbank’s Third Venture: A Messaging App Called Hike

- Messaging App using both data and SMS: It appears to be a peer to peer (p2p) messaging application which uses both data and SMS to deliver messages. It appears that data will be used for messaging between users who are on Hike, and SMS will be used in case the receiver is not on Hike. Users who are not on Hike will probably be asked to sign up, which is what most messaging apps do. For example:Affle's Pinch does this.

- Free SMS: Hike recently received an approval from the TRAI for more than 100 messages per day per SIM, even before its launch. The app is is offering users 100 free SMS' per month, and as a carrot for bringing more and more users to the app, is offering 10 SMS per user brought in.

- SMS Spam blocking: as an added incentive, Hike also appears to be looking to address the issue of SMS Spam which plagues much of the Indian market, saying that it has filters which will block SMS spam, and learn to block spam with time.

More here.

Our Take

While not much else is available on the application, a few initial thoughts on BSB's entry into this market:

- Crowded, but there's room for growth: SMS and text messaging is on the decline, and right now, it's almost as if there's a land-grab of subscribers for data messaging apps in progress. Tencent launched WeChat in India last month, and other apps include Nimbuzz, as well as WhatsAppRockeTalkebuddyim+Viber and kik, among others. That said, not enough Indians are using data, so there is room for growth, and BSB's messaging application will help get more users on data, just like other apps are.

- On Free SMS: It's an interesting marketing ploy, but note 100 free SMS can be upstaged by a 200 free SMS, which can be upstaged by a 200 free SMS offer, and so on. Anyone willing to do unlimited?

- Relationship with Telcos: With the growth of data services in India, SMS  is declining in India (read why), and while a decline in SMS revenues doesn't serve Airtel or other telcos, realistically, it's a trend that is unlikely to be reversed. More users on data will help the telcos. Hike will need more than an organic push, since it's entering the market rather late.

- Replace native messaging app? one of the things that Affle got right with its SMS 2.0 application when it launched many years ago, is that it replaced the native application for Nokia handsets. Hike would do well to try and become the default messaging application. The other thing that Affle got right: they partnered with Airtel, which promoted them extensively, and which was probably responsible for most of its user base.

- Symbian? Yes, Symbian is declining, but it's not that there isn't a large enough market there. Hike would do well to try and build user loyalty by going beyond early adopters on smartphone devices. On Twitter, they mentioned that they're starting with Android and the website mentions WP7 and iOS. Then again, it's perhaps not worth the pain of developing for Symbian anymore. What do you think?

- SMS Spam blocking as a feature: this is a great feature, and something which other applications might want to emulate. We wonder what this means for services like SMSBlocker, that their entire product is being converted into a feature in a messaging app. It might boil down to who blocks best, or users might keep more than one app for blocking. Come to think of it, given that SMSBlocker has an installed user base, there is potential for it to become another contender in the messaging apps space. Either that or SMSBlocker could consider a new business model – its spam detection database could power this feature for other messaging apps.

*

Other BSB initiatives include mobile based deals business Hoppr, in which it has a significant minority stake (49.74% for Rs 22.25 crore), and a portal joint venture with Yahoo Japan.

Note: The app isn't available for download yet, and these views are on the basis of information provided on the BSB website.

TextMe Offers Free Voice Calling for the 4th of July

Users Can Call Friends, Family and Loved Ones Free From Anywhere in the World

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Jul 02, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- TextMe, a leading provider of free SMS texting and voice calling, today announced a free offer for the 4th of July. Users with the app will be able to make calls to mobile or landline phones in the United States from anywhere in the world without incurring charges.

Launched recently, the voice calling services of the TextMe application allow users to make the calls over cellular data networks or over Wi-Fi. TextMe issues phone numbers to all its users including someone with a Wi-Fi-only iPod Touch or iPad. In effect this turns any connected iOS device into a fully featured phone. In addition, TextMe users can engage in free video chats with other users of TextMe.

"Despite the explosive use of electronic messages, calling friends and family is very important, especially on special occasions," said Christophe Bach, co-founder of TextMe. "In celebration of our nation's independence, we are pleased to allow our fellow Americans to call their loved ones on this very special day of the year. This is even more true of those traveling outside of the United States and who will not have easy and cost effective ways to call."

On the 4th of July (pacific standard times), every TextMe user will be able to call free of charge any landline or mobile US phone number. This will allow them to speak with their friends, family and loved ones for the 4th of July celebration. New users can download the free application at http://go-text.me/s/?=pr1

About TextMe TextMe brings device-independent and carrier-independent free mobile communications to millions of users worldwide. With TextMe, anyone can now enjoy free SMS texting, instant messaging and voice and video calling on their device of choice: iOS, Android or Windows Phone 7. TextMe is located in San Francisco, CA. For more information visit http://go-text.me

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