[AI] Your SMSes may soon be free
dl.vikas at gmail.com
Sun Jan 6 09:36:45 EST 2008
Your SMSes may soon be free
HYDERABAD: Here's some good news: Those numerous SMSes that you paid for may well become free in future. No, it isn't because the mobile service providers
have had an attack of altruism, but rather a new technology allows advertisements to be tagged along SMSes and, hence, the advertisers are willing to pick
up the tab.
Everyday about 5.5 crore SMSes are estimated to be moving across the network in the country. And by 2010, it is expected to go beyond 18,000 crore per
annum, allowing advertisers to reach a huge audience.
"Every message is personal to the user and he pays great attention while reading it. This presents advertisers an opportunity to send across their message
too," an industry source said.
Mobile service providers are also game for free SMSes and see in it a means to make a kill - they could charge advertisers higher for SMSes. Moreover,
free SMSes would make users send more messages.
"We are evaluating various options for free SMS. While mobile advertisement potential is huge, it depends on right content and relevance. Else, subscribers
may not take to the service even if it is free," Reliance Communications spokesperson Krishna Durbha said.
Another industry source who heads the value-added services segment, however, said: "There are still some gaps in the technology. For instance, while appending
the advertisement to a message there is a chance of the message being tampered. This is a typical security flaw if the technology provider is not competent.
It might take some time to sort this out."
Several technology companies, including a few from the city, are working on helping the advertisers tap this area.
"The nascent free SMS service segment would see a huge growth in the next couple of years as advertisers are increasingly shifting from online to mobile
space," SMS Country Networks CEO Satyam Yerramsetti said.
In the free SMS model, the original message would come in the existing format but it would have an advertisement at the end. The technology companies are
already in talks with mobile service providers for working out the model for sending messages and revenue sharing.
In the free SMS model, once the message is sent, it would go to the service provider's server first and then to the content aggregator's server for tagging
on the advertisement. Then it would be sent to the receiver.
The technology companies would monitor the advertisement tags using specially-designed softwares and the advertisers would be charged based on the number
of sponsored messages.
According to another technopreneur, Vebtel MD Kusumba S, mobile-to-mobile free SMSes could become a reality soon as declining average revenue per user
(ARPU) in voice mode and increasing competition are forcing telecom players to look at value-added services like SMS.
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