MXL Telecom, a telecom solutions provider, has tied up with Idea Cellular & Vodafone India to launch mXLBrowser, which is essentially an app to access SMS services through a graphical menu. The platform adds a Graphical User Interface to access SMS services such as local news, global news, Twitter, Facebook, Job search, among others. The users don’t need to remember keywords and are, essentially, sending and receiving SMS, when they requests for content on the top of the interactive UI. The information received through the SMS is also displayed in the browser app.

The company claims that services such as weather, Twitter, and others, will be available on a bundle pricing basis, where the user can effectively use the service for 10 paise per transaction (or per request/SMS). For example, a user may opt to purchase 300 SMS pack for Rs. 30 (or 150 SMS pack for Rs.15 or 70 SMS pack for Rs.7). In effect, this would enable him to use the services at as low as 10 paise. These SMS bundle credits will be valid for use for all the services offered by the browser. However, users can also try out the service once for Re. 1 per transaction.

Partners: MXL Telecom has currently partnered with Associated Press for news, Babajobs for jobs, Contify, EnableM, Ganeshaspeaks for horoscope, Meracareerguide, Naukri.com, among others for content on the application. Apart from that, MXL Telecom has also partnered with telecom operators Idea and Vodafone to provide the service.

Handset support: Currently, the mXLBrowser supports about 280 java handsets and the company claims that more handsets will be added to the list. Feature phone users can download the app from m.mxltelecom.com (WAP) or http://www.mxltelecom.com/mxl-load.aspx (PC). The service is currently live on Idea Cellular’s network, and will be available on Vodafone starting next month, according to the company.

Our View

Since the app is SMS based and the target audience of the app are feature phone users, it’s not very likely that these users would download the app from a mobile website. Unless and until mXLTelecom manages to have its app pre-installed on devices, there’s little chance for the target audience to discover and use the app. Perhaps MXL Telecom can install the application via service outlets for better reach.

Other Players

This is not the first time that such an app has been offered. In July 2011, SMS browser company Shorthand powered the Insta SMS Browser for Indiatimes to offer Indiatimes 58888 SMS services through a graphical menu, addressing one important concern when it comes to SMS based services – the need to remember ‘SMS keywords’, typing them out and sending them as messages through the phone’s messaging section. Apart from that, Classifieds venture GETIT had launched an SMS browser app in collaboration with Shorthand Mobile. The app enables users to access SMS based info services from the company, through a graphical interface.