In what appears to be a key break for Nimbuzz in India, Virgin Mobile has tied up with the messaging and VoIP company Nimbuzz for integrating their messenger both into their WAP deck and mobile handsets.
In the first phase, Vchatter will be a chat environment on Virgin Mobile India’s WAP portal Vbytes, providing access to multiple IMs like Yahoo Messenger, Gtalk, MSN Messenger, Facebook and Skype for free.
This is the first implementation of a chat environment on an operator WAP portal that I’ve come across.The second phase is along more expected lines: a Virgin-branded Nimbuzz will be loaded on Virgin Mobile’s upcoming pre-paid handsets.
However, despite the application being made available, there’s still no mention of Internet Telephony, and we’ve asked Virgin Mobile & Nimbuzz for a clarification on whether the service will incorporate VoIP or not. Readers will remember that when Nimbuzz tied up with Virgin’s “franchise JV partner” Tata Indicom, VoIP was not a part of the deal. While telecom operators will certainly be open to increasing data usage though IM, perhaps at the risk of SMS revenue, it is unlikely that they’ll bundle free VoIP applications that will impact their voice revenues.
The other way of looking at these tie-ups is that the company is getting a toe in the door, and there might be a situation later where they can enable Internet Telephony.