BBC World Service Trust announced last month that Janala, a mobile service which helps learn English via mobile phones in Bangladesh, has delivered 1 million English lessons. Janala, which means window, was launched in November last year and is run by BBC World Service Trust and funded by UK’s Department for International Development. (Hat Tip: Rajeev Gambhir)

The services is based on the mobile interactive voice response system (IVR). Users in Bangladesh dial 3000 and get access to 3 minute long audio lessons and SMS quizzes. The lessons vary from Essential English for beginners to story telling lessons for advanced learners. According to the blog post, 39 percent of the callers return to the service, and lessons for beginners gets 69 percent repeat usage. In Bangladesh there is a return rate of 5 percent for other mobile information products and services. Telecom operators charge 1 Taka per minute for the lessons, though it has been criticized for still being rather high.

The website for the service looks equally equally helpful to users to learn English as it has free services such as pronunciation tips with audio files, vocabulary lessons, quizzes and text, audio and video downloads. Users can join the website for free.

English has emerged as the pre-eminent language of business in the India: learning English satisfies an aspirational need, and similar services have been launched in the country: BSNL had launched a similar service in November last year, called Learn English. The service was powered by EnableM in association with OnMobile and was priced low at Rs 20 for subscription and Rs 0.30 per minute for the call. English Seekho, is another learn English on mobile service on Tata Indicom, developed by IL&FS Education and Technology Services Limited. Indicom charges Rs 20 as subscription and Rs 0.60 per minute for use.

So how are the services in India doing? Is consumption increasing or, like many such services, is this just another service launched for the hype? If you know, do share some stats.

BSNL, EnableM & OnMobile Launch Learn English: The Opportunity