Tata DOCOMO has tied-up with mobile based directory service Truecaller to let its subscribers use the service for free without incurring data charges.
As part of the deal, Tata DOCOMO subscribers will also get access to premium services offered by Truecaller for 90 days for free. These include ad free service, access to list of people who have viewed the subscriber’s profile and 30 contact requests every month. The last feature by the way lets you search for contact details of Truecaller customers by searching for his name.
It is not clear if Tata DOCOMO plans to offer an unlimited Truecaller data pack for its customers down the line like it does for WhatsApp. It is also not clear if the company will offer operator billing option for Tata DOCOMO customers who want to buy Truecaller premium service.
Truecaller had recently revealed that 29 million of its 55 million users are in India, up from 22 million users reported in December 2013. It had raised $18.8M in fund raising from Sequoia Capital, Open Ocean, Truecaller Chairman Stefan Lennhammer, and an unnamed private investor earlier this year. The company’s Vice President for Growth and Partnership, Asia, Kari Krishnamurthy told PTI that the service is adding 6 lakh users a week in India.
Other partnerships by Truecaller: The company had partnered with Twitter to allow users of its Android app in the country view whether a mobile number is connected to a Twitter account and follow them directly or send them a tweet right from the Truecaller app.
It had also introduced web profiles through which landline and non-smartphone users could create their respective profiles with requisite information like physical address, Facebook and Twitter accounts and others. In July 2013, Truecaller had also partnered with Innoz to allow users look up for mobile and landline numbers via SMS. Users were charged Rs 1 per query and offered information like person’s name, their service provider, region and service type (GSM or CDMA).
There are still questions about privacy in a service such as Truecaller, that the company has not fully addressed.
Tata’s woes: This deal comes just when NTT DOCOMO has decided to sell its entire stake comprising 1.25 billion shares (1,248,974,378 shares) in the telco through the equity method. The company plans to exercise this option in or before June 2014, in case Tata Teleservices fails to achieve certain specified performance targets for the fiscal ended March 31, 2014.
Tata Teleservices which operates mobile services under the Tata DOCOMO brand with its sister company Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd (TTML) has been reeling under losses for several years now. The company’s net worth had reportedly turned negative for the first time last year after incurring a net loss of Rs 4,858 crore on operating income of Rs 10,799 crore for the fiscal FY13.