Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL), the Indian arm of Russian CDMA-technology-based telecom operator Sistema has launched a messaging app for low-end CDMA devices called mBuddy, according to a The Economic Times report, citing the company's chief marketing and sales officer Leonid Musatov. The company will charge Rs 15 every month for the service, which lets people send unlimited messages.
It has partnered with Singapore-based Vocable Pte Ltd to develop the app.
"Indians are among the heaviest users of SMS and we realised not everyone can afford an Android device that supports WhatsApp. That induced us to develop mBuddy, which would initially allow people at the bottom of the pyramid to savour unlimited instant messaging on basic feature phones and eventually share pictures and audio files too," Musatov said.
"The advent of smartphones and over-the-top (OTT) services had taken mobile phone usage to new levels, reflected in the constant evolution of messaging apps for smart devices. But entry-level customers had got totally left out from the phenomenon," he added.
The app could replicate the instant messaging and photo-sharing thrills on sub Rs 1,000 handsets and go a long way in getting the lower rungs of society greater access to social media. The company claims online pokies that in a few months, the app will be scaled up for photo and audio file sharing, and will also run on 4G devices subsequently. It sees the home grown app evolving into a powerful market expansion engine as it will be positioned as an affordable instant messaging and photo-sharing platform for low-cost CDMA phones, non-Android dual-SIM handsets and 4G devices as well.
Sistema Shyam Teleservices is among the few telcos offering pure play CDMA services under the MTS brand.
Cross-platform instant messaging app WhatsApp, which already has tie-ups with leading telcos including Airtel, Tata Docomo, RCom and Uninor in India, is also providing special WhatsApp only data packs costing between Rs 36 and 49. Hike had also earlier signed a deal with Airtel to allow its prepaid customers to use the service without any data charges for three months.