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Spice Mobiles To Embed Nimbuzz, Ibibo; Will Operators Allow Nimbuzz VoIP?

Spice Gang

Spice GangSpice Mobiles has tied up with Ibibo and Nimbuzz: Spice’s WAP portal wap.Spicegang.In links out to Ibibo Mobile (view it online, here), as well as Thomson Reuters news service.

Interestingly, Ibibo’s WAP site also features MyGamma. You may recall that MyGamma/MyGamma had raised $10 million from Naspers (Ibibo’s parent company) for a 25 percent stake.

The Problem For Nimbuzz And Other VoIP Applications

Spice will embed the Nimbuzz mobile application on their handsets, starting with the S-940 phone, and that is where it gets interesting. Nimbuzz is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) application which allows users to make calls over the Mobile web, or WiFi, if the user has access to it. Now this essentially competes with the business model of mobile operators, as per which they charge according to minutes of use, and not data transferred. 

There’s a tendency for mobile operators to disallow such mobile applications. For example, Airtel Live, Bharti Airtel’s pay-per-use data plan that is being used by most pre-paid customers with data access, didn’t allow the use of Fring, a VoIP application, which I last checked a couple of months ago. I’ve switched to Mobile Office, with which I’m able to use Fring. A majority of mobile subscribers in India, and around 98.4% of Airtel’s new subscriber additions last quarter, were prepaid.

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