To break the clutter in value added services (VAS), some telecom operators are developing innovative services to catch their customer and ultimately, lead to better ARPU (average revenue per user), which at Rs 200, is among the lowest in the world.
Vodafone, for instance, launched a Busy Message service, using which the subscribers can compose and record their own busy messages for callers. The company also gives them an option to choose from their existing list of busy messages, such as that they are watching a movie or that their phone battery is low. Similarly, Airtel has launched mobile comics through its internet portal Airtel Live. The comics portal provides subscribers access to more than 300 Indian and international comic characters via mobile internet.
More recently, Tata Indicom, the CDMA brand of Tata Teleservices, has launched an innovative prank service, called Fun Voices, through which users can change their voice pitch and use it as a caller ring back tone (CRBT) for their callers. CRBT is the tone, often a song or recorded message, that callers hear when they call a particular subscriber.
To use the Fun Voices feature, a Tata Indicom user needs to dial a particular and press any key from 1 to 9 to change the voice pitch and background sound. Fun Voices, which was launched in November, has already been subscribed by over 100,000 users, claims the operator. The charge for the service is Rs 3 per minute.
In an email response to Telecom Yatra, Lloyd Mathias, chief marketing officer, Tata Teleservices, explains what led the company to launch this service, “Analysis of our VAS offerings showed that products and services which have a quirkiness and eccentricity to them have a good offtake. Pranks (jokes etc) as a service were very well received. In fact, our audience even in ring back tones, consumes about 5 per cent of the overall prank content. This led us to create this differentiated product.”
As per Mathias, the company aims to appeal to users’ mindsets rather than their age and socio-economic segments. He says, “Youth and impulse driven mindset is how we would qualify our audience definition for this product.”
Elaborating on the promotional plans for the service, Mathias says, “We have currently done targeted activities towards our existing base using captive media such as bill inserts, SMS and Interactive Voice Recorded (IVR) messages. We are looking at creating a fan following using mass media vehicles such as radio, outdoor, on-ground activation as well as our extensive Tata Indicom exclusive stores. We are also planning some activity on the popular social networking sites.”