(By Nikhil Pahwa & Anupam Saxena)

Reliance Communications has tied up with mobile VAS provider Altruist Technologies to launch a user generated Caller Tune service on its pan-India network. The service will enable Reliance GSM and CDMA mobile customers to record any content for 30 seconds through the ‘Tune Maker‘ web or IVR interface (56694400) and set it as their caller tune.  Customers can also share their content with other users who can use it as their own caller tune.

Who Monitors User Generated Content?

This is particularly interesting because the user will be charged Rs. 5 per month for the tune  in addition to a one time CRBT subscription charge of Rs 30. That appears to be cheaper than regular caller tunes, where typically, the payment is between Rs. 15 to Rs. 30. The lower cost is probably because no revenue share needs to be paid to a music company owner. What this does, is reduce the dependency on music labels, and eats into money otherwise being paid to labels or aggregators.

But what happens if users record a song as their caller tune, by putting their phone near a speaker? The music database of telecom operators is hardly comprehensive when it comes to English music. What if they record abusive content? The liability will need to be clearly defined.

Airtel also allows users to record and set their own caller tunes through the ‘Mera Hello Tune‘ service, though it doesnt allow them to share it with other users. It charges Re 1 per minute call charges in addition to Rs 5 as uploading fee per recording, Rs15 per selection and Rs 30 as monthly rental for Hello Tunes. It does not have a web interface to create and share user generated content. Airtel however has put a warning along with detailed terms and conditions governing such recordings.

” While recording pls ensure you don’t record anything abusive, offensive, obscene or copyrighted content. Any such clip will be deleted by our Auditing team.”

Regulating user generated content can be a problem and Reliance will have to deal with content carefully.