Airtel ready to launch next generation SMS

Source: Business Standard | View Print Article

NEW DELHI, 03 September 2007: India’s leading private telecom services provider, Bharti Airtel, and Affle­ – a UK –head quartered mobile media firm – will shortly announce the commercial launch of SMS2.0 service for Airtel customers. During a recent pilot test with 15,000 Airtel subscribers in Delhi and the NCR region. Affle claims to have boosted Airtel’s average revenue per user (ARPPU)by almost 8 per cent.

Industry statistics indicate that around two billion global mobile phone subscribers reportedly send 36 text messages per month (short messaging service or SMS), making it the most popular application on mobile phones today. The Affle powered SMS 2.0 application takes SMS a step further – from plain text messaging to enhanced messaging – customer text colors, fun emotions, and scheduled SMS, content and advertising. It integrates itself with the usual user interactions by residing as the default SMS application on the handset.

Affle has tied up with advertisers like,Aviva Insurance, ICICI, Titan, and HPCL, among other 10 advertiseers, to display ads on every SMS received or sent through the SMS2.0 platform.

Each user will be exposed to more than 550 advertisements or content impressions per month, making SMS 2.0 a money spinner for the mobile operator. The advertisements on SMS 2.0 have a set of “call-to-action” features such as ‘call now’, ‘call-me-back’, ‘buy now’, launch video’, ‘answer survey’ and ‘view web page’.

“Mobile ads are three times more expensive than online ones, primarily because of the mass reach and simplicity of the medium, making perfect business sense for them and making money for Affle too,” says Anuj Kumar, founder and executive director (South Asia). Affle.

“More than two per cent of these impression lead to people clicking on options which lead to interactivity for advertisers, and monetization for content providers,” he adds. Since the SMS can be embedded mobile advertisements, it adds interactivity for the ad content. “We have already seen 6.3 peer cent of embedded advertisements being clicked by the users. Also 2.6 per cent of impressions lead the user to either find out more about the ad or contact the advertiser,” he claims.