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Tata Docomo Partners OnMobile To Launch Mobile App For Caller Tunes


Mobile operator, Tata Docomo, has partnered mobile VAS company, OnMobile, to launch a mobile app called My Call Me Tune that allows Tata DOCOMO GSM subscribers to create, customize and activate their caller tunes (CRBTs). My Call Me Tune allows users to search, preview and buy music content, namely caller ring back tones, on the go from their the app. Users can also set their current as well as future presence/status, on the fly, and set it as their call me tune for a fixed duration.

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The service allows users to search for caller tunes on the basis of song name, artist, and movie title. Apart from that, the app also allows users to customize profile tunes for specific situations. For instance, if a user is in a meeting, he can record his own voice template and put it as a call me tune stating “in a meeting, will call back later”. This might save users the hassle of sending an SMS each time they are in a meeting and cannot attend a call.

Users can also set their preferred language under the settings option to customize and use their preferred songs. One can set a particular song for a specific caller by entering his/her mobile number while requesting a Call Me Tune as well. The app also allows users to copy a call me tune by entering the number within the app interface from which the user would like to copy the song. The application is presently available for Android, Blackberry and Symbian mobile phones and would soon be available for iOS platform users, according to the company.

How to use the service: To activate this service Tata DOCOMO customers need to dial 590002 or sms <MY CMT> to 543211. On receiving the request, the system will send a downloadable link of the My Call Me Tune application via SMS. Once downloaded, users can use the app to search and set caller tunes. The charges for downloading songs are Rs 15 for 90 days.

However, it is not clear how Tata Docomo would take explicit consent from its customers from the app as TRAI’s new VAS directives says that the service provider shall obtain confirmation from the consumer through consumer originated SMS or e-mail or FAX or in writing within twenty four hours of activation of the value added service and charge the consumer only if the confirmation is received from him for such value added service and shall discontinue such value added service if no confirmation is received from the consumer. However, as we reported, telcos are expected to file a petition in the TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) opposing the TRAI’s order that directed them to take explicit consent from subscribers for activating value added services (VAS) on their mobile numbers.

Our take: Traditionally, telecom operators in India ‘push’ VAS solutions to customers and spend a large amount of money to do so. Previously, we have seen customers accidentally subscribing to VAS when telecom operators push their services on customers. With changes in the regulatory framework, telcos are switching from push to pull, giving subscribers more control. The mobile application’s focus is also on easing the experience for the customers. Previously, users had to make use of operator’s IVR technology for the same which turned out to be a rather unpleasing experience overall. The app also aids self discovery of music rather than customers discovering the music from promotions by the operator. The launch of the app also goes well with Tata Docomo’s Project Clean VAS.

Also, caller tunes are a major source of VAS revenue for telcos, VAS aggregators and the music industry, so there’s a good need to ease discovery and make it easy for subscribers to manage the service. Although, telcos started putting caller tune listings on their website and Tata DOCOMO even started a Facebook app to tackle the problem, a mobile app is an interesting proposition, as subscribers will get control, on the go. Unfortunately, we were not able to test the service as we don’t have access to a Tata DOCOMO connection.

Other Mobile Similar Developments 

Last year in April, Tata Docomo had introduced a Facebook application dubbed as Songshare that is essentially a control center for the service, enabling search, recommendation and activation of ring back tones, from within Facebook. The application lets Tata Docomo subscribers share songs that they have set as their ring back tune with their friends through status updates and wall posts on their Facebook page. Apart from that there are online services such as Fonedoo, which serves as a common platform to search and set caller ring back tunes. The service is run by mobile solutions provider U2opia Mobile, and indexes and organizes content including ringtones, CRBTs, apps, wallpapers and videos, across operators on the platform. We’re not sure if it’s being updated with new content, though.

In February 2012, Bharti Airtel had launched a web interface for its mobile services, including for its Caller Ringback Tones (Hello Tunes) and other mobile Value Added Services. Its web interface for CRBT offers Airtel subscribers a listing of all its Hello Tunes, which can be bought, sampled, and gifted, the other site allows users to browse, search and subscribe to about 85 VAS products including missed call alerts, Airtel Radio, Airtel Talkies, Mobile TV, Friends Locator and others.

  • VASudev

    Nikhil, I will add another angle to your analysis of explicit consent. As per TRAI’s instruction for VAS activations and renewals, this explicit consent is needed only in case of VAS activation via OBD or IVRs. It does not talk about mobile internet or app based subscription requests. So the operators don’t really need to do anything for it today. Though looking at how they are becoming largely active towards catering to “some” of what TRAI says (Airtel and Tata are for sure; Vodafone always was), I really expect them to do something proactively about having some kind of consent, like a double confirmation within the app itself. Also, apps can be configured to send SMSes to certain shortcodes in case the user gives the right permissions.