As strange as it sounds, Tanla Mobile has said on its earnings conference call that despite the company having expected a very large impact (decimation, frankly) after Nokia having offered maps for free. The announcement of free maps from Nokia would have put a large red strike-out across Tanla’s revenue expectations of “EUR 20-22 million this financial year (2009-10), EUR 65 million next year and EUR 125 million in FY 2012 in this specific vertical.”

But, according to the management on its earnings conference call – “we are yet to witness that. In fact, we are still seeing license manager volumes remain as where they are on a monthly basis, and we expect to see that for the next quarter as well. Where we are seeing a little bit of an impact is in the transaction business where because Nokia Maps is now free, we are seeing drop in transaction numbers that were coming from the Maps business. On the payment side, we have not felt as severe an impact or any impact from the change in Nokia strategy towards free Maps strategy and we are continuing to see the license manager ship on all S60, S40 handsets.” Tanla’s license volumes are in the 4-5 million mark, and they expect the same in the next quarter.

So are people still buying maps, despite being free?

Tanla has two revenue sources from the licence manager for Nokia maps – license revenue and transaction revenue. The company said that their prime driver for license revenue was the EUR 0.15 they were getting per license. According to Tanla CMD Uday Reddy, “For them (Nokia) to not to amend our license manager into Smartphones as in today, they need to make a lot of changes into the platform which we are not be allowed to share on this point of time. So I don’t think they are going to make any changes in the platform in the near future, so all I am trying to say is, like, we strongly believe that like in our license manager is still going to be embedded in all the Smartphones going forward, but some point of time, they will make changes in the platform, but when it is going to happen, we don’t have any clue about that, but it is not going to happen in the near future.”

More from the earnings conference call:

– InTune Deal With Telescope & Rev Share: Tanla tied up with US based Telescope last year. Telescope is a telephony provider which provides SMS and phone services broadcasters, for shows like American Idol. Tanla will license their Intune audition software, a phone call mechanism to all their customers. They expect it to go live with their broadcast customers in this quarter itself. It’s a revenue share deal for a service over IVR, and Telescope and Tanla would get 50% of all revenue generated on the service.

– Displaces Mobile2Win For Sony 52525: Tanla has displaced Mobile2Win as the short code managed service provider for Sony TV in India, including for Indian Idol. They’re getting “a fee per transaction that goes through the platform with some sort of minimum guarantees in place.”

– Tanla ZED Venture: The joint venture between Tanla and ZED is apparently serving content on most telecom operators, and launched MyFree, a product which gives away content for free to users for a certain period of time, on Reliance World, in the last quarter. The company also plans to introduce in India large “high impact promotions” that ZED runs in other markets towards the end of this year.

– License Manager: Memory Card Deals; Conversion Rates: Tanla has tied up with memory card distributors like SanDisk, handset distributors like Carphone Warehouse (in Europe), and application distributors like GetJar, for pre-loaded content. Tanla says that for preloaded content on memory cards, conversion rates are 10% and above. The SanDisk deal is for 3 years, with around 30 million memory cards in the first year, and increased in the second and third. The