Loop Mobile, the Mumbai based telecom operator with 2.9 million GSM subscribers, has tied up with heavily funded SMS community SMSGupShup to launch what it is calling the “Reply All SMS” service. The service appears to be a limited white-labeled version of SMS GupShup itself: Loop Mobile subscribers can create a group of 3 to 7 people from any operator network (by messaging to 555999: CHAT 98210xxxxx 98200xxxxx 92235xxxxx).

The group will be assigned a dedicated “shortcode” by SMS GupShup – though, a nine digit code like 555999001 or 555999002 shouldn’t be called a ‘short code’ in our opinion. Members on the group can send messages to this shortcode to communicate with each other. Exactly the way it works with SMS GupShup, all replies reach all members at the same time.

So it’s not exactly “Reply All SMS”, but a group. What’s important is that messages to the short code are priced at Rs. 0.5 per message (although it’s free of cost till the end of this month). This effectively reduces the cost of messaging to a large group of people.

This also helps SMS GupShup increase the number of subscribers in its database (does it really need any more?), while helping Loop Mobile increase SMS usage on its network, including messaging coming in from other networks. SMS usage isn’t dropping for Loop, is it? Loop accounts for 17.16% of the subscriber base in Mumbai, the only circle in which it operates.

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