Applied Mobile Labs (formerly Voicetap Technologies) has launched Education on Mobile, a voice and SMS based service that offers spoken English lessons. The company had carried out a three week pilot project in Eastern UP and Gujarat and has now officially launched the service commercially.
How to use: To use the service, customers need to purchase the product which is priced at Rs 799, to get access to the entire course content. The overall course is around 900 min long, for which Applied Mobile Labs (AMLPL) gives 300 min free with the course. Post that, normal call rates apply. After purchasing the product all that a user needs to do is give a missed call to 9223405555 from a mobile handset and they would receive an automated call.
Content: The course includes segments such as ‘Essential English’ to ‘Pronunciation’ to ‘English for Work’ along with daily SMS tips, interactive audio based tests, live practice and a chat with counselors on call and on SMS through their own mobile handsets. The company claims that the course was designed by 8 English Experts, however, it has not disclosed their identity.
AMLPL will also tie up with retails outlets in future, where retail cards with activation code will be available, just like scratch cards.
This is the first time that Applied Mobile Labs (AMLPL) has launched a service which is operator agnostic. Usually they tie up with telecom operators to launch such services. In October 2012, Bharti Airtel had partnered with Hungama Mobile to launch ‘CAT Fastrack’ pack – a 30 day crash course for CAT aspirants for subscribers on their network. The option of voice chat through IVR once in a week, is powered by Applied Mobile Labs. In 2011, Voicetap Technologies had launched a Value Added Service called Tutor on Mobile (TOM) on Tata DOCOMO. It is pegged to be a knowledge marketplace offering educational content and services including knowledge conference calls from experts, to enable end-users, mainly students, to learn on the go.
By going operator agnostic, AMLPL will bypass the large operator share that it might have to otherwise pay to the telcos for offering the service. In India, typically the revenue share between a telco and a VAS company is 70% for the telco and 30% for the VAS company (except for Vodafone which offers 70% to VAS providers). However, telcos offer operator billing and also promote the service. AMLPL will be offering their service in retail outlets to overcome the operator billing barrier, however, it still needs to figure out a way to promote the service. It should be noted that the retail presence only matters when it’s visible or the sales person is educated enough about the product. AMLPL will have to make sure that they educate the retail sales person about the product.
Other players: Airtel Digital TV, the DTH arm of Bharti Airtel, had introduced a new interactive value added service called iEnglish, which intends to help customers to improve their English speaking skills by offering language tutorials. Airtel states that these tutorials will be in an audio-visual format and will feature animated characters and quizzes. The service is priced at Rs 30/month. DTH operator Tata Sky also offers a similar service, Active English, with content being offered by the British Council.