Indiatimes’ MoCoLife is an attempt by the BCCL company to provide a host of mobile services under a second brand: remember that Indiatimes’ 58888 is a fairly established brand as well. Under MoCoLife, Indiatimes is providing SMS from Web to Mobile, Group Messaging, Subscriptions, Scheduled text messages, Text Reminders, and Gift a Ringtone; it’s a mix of free and subscription services. Afaqs reported it earlier today.
I think MoCoLife will struggle, because there are too many limitations and too many “Terms and Conditions”:
1. Some of their key content services are already being provided free of cost by others
Indiatimes clearly isn’t bold or foolhardy enough (take your pick) to offer for free, the same content that they otherwise charge for. Take a look at their content rates (Note: Rs. 150 for 500 credits and Rs. 500 for 2000 credits). Remember that MyToday offers the same content for free, and mobile operators also charge for the same services. Indiatimes will have to really push this service, and hope to target users who haven’t yet subscribed to MyToday.
2. Free isn’t Free enough
My sense, when I saw the site first a couple of weeks ago, was that they’re going to push the “FREE SMS from Web to Mobile” to drive signups, which is also being provided by 160by2. But the fine print: only 30 free SMS per month (max 5 per day). Even in these messages are limited to 80 characters, and the rest will be a footer advertisement.
3. Payment itself is a limiter
While Indiatimes does have Credit Card, NetBanking and Paymate as options for buying credit, payment itself is a limiter for usage. One needs to buy credits, and then pay for these services. Credits are also being given for free, but if every time you run out of credit, and you need to buy another subscription pack – will you go through the hassle?
4. Restricted (at present) to a userbase that uses both the Internet and the mobile
The solution to the second issue is simple – they need to create a mobile web interface for the service, and hope that users sign up. But that’s only adding the off-portal mobile web users from India. There has to be an SMS-only element to this service as well.
I quite liked the idea of scheduled SMS and Text Reminders – I don’t think anyone is providing either of these services in India.
I’m not very sure of this model of a mix of free and paid services, particularly when you make it so complicated…in fact MoCoLife comes across primarily as a paid service, with a few freebies thrown in. So I don’t think mass adoption is on the cards for MoCoLife. Question is – why even bother to launch a service with the issues mentioned above?
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