160By2 Launches Free SMS To Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia & Singapore; Disruptive


logo-smscountry-160by2
Hyderabad based SMSCountry, which operates the free SMS service 160by2, has launched free SMS services to Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia & Singapore. This means that registered users can send an SMS to mobile numbers in these countries, without paying the standard International SMS charges. Satya Kalyan Yerramsetti, CEO and Co-founder of SMSCountry has said that the company plans to launch services in other South East Asian markets as well.

By aggregating free SMS services in various countries on an Internet platform, this free SMS service is disrupting the existing format in which International SMS’ are sent. 160by2 has a mobile application as well, which uses both SMS and GPRS to send free SMS’. For Pre-paid users in Kerala, Airtel charges Rs. 3 for an international SMS to the Gulf region, while BSNL charges Rs. 5 for all International SMS’.

A Precedence in Internet Telephony

A precedence exists in case of voice over Internet protocol (VoIP/Internet Telephony), wherein one can make calls to International telephone numbers using services like Skype, at a lower cost. In India, VoIP is not allowed to terminate in a PSTN (Landline or Mobile) network, though the telecom regulator TRAI is pushing that agenda.

Competition & Costs

SMS costs in International markets are higher (we’re assuming that Bulk SMS costs are higher too), so will any one be willing to take on the costs? Other service providers can follow suit, but garnering a user base is quite another task: 160by2 claims to have 4 million registered users (India has over 400 million mobile subscribers), and monetizes with advertisements using 80 characters of each SMS sent. Based on their website, they have a campaign running for Sprite, and also offer mobile classifieds services (though mobile SMS based classifieds are free).

Readers will remember that Indiatimes used to offer free SMS services earlier, though MocoLife, which was launched last year, offered 30 free SMS’ a month. NEA Indo-US and DFJ funded startup MGinger also has launched Free SMS services.

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  • LTLRC

    thanks for covering this . Now whole world know abt them .I bet very soon they will be blocked like M*T***y

  • http://twitter.com/deva5 deva5

    Good Move considering it cost operators only between 30 p to 50p to deliver an international sms where as the subscriber is charged 5 Rs
    Will this lead to mobile app being restricted by the operators if used via GPRS?

  • Avi Gautam

    Is that viable , giving away international SMS for free?? considering indian bulk SMS costs against international bulk SMS costs?

    Its a big challenge, especially for a player like 160by2 having millions (if not 4 million, atleast 2.5 -3 million) of established user base. I feel, Consumption volumes may clock in millions from month 1 – Are they ready to accept ?

    How does they monetize all this inventory?
    Being associated with Mobile marketing, I have to see..How long they can continue this service ….

  • http://www.locomi.com Ravi

    People with GPRS can SMS folks in Singapore for free without this – you just need to use the web SMS interface for your respective telecom operator