Indonesian carrier Indosat has launched a new recharge facility that will allow its subscribers to recharge their phones by direct messaging the company on Twitter. To use the feature, Twitterati from Indonesia will have to follow Indosat’s account and send it a direct message using the hashtag #TwitBuy and follow the instructions they receive.

Obviously, this is not a very convenient way for users to recharge when out of data and away from WiFi, but it would possibly be more useful for making talktime recharges or recharging the phone over a desktop or a laptop. On receiving a recharge request, a list of offered packages will be sent by DM to users, who can then reply with the package they want to buy. It’s not clear if Indosat is partnering Twitter for this feature, but it seems like they could pull it off on their own using Twitter’s automation rules and APIs. 

Interestingly, Twitter had removed its 140 character limit on direct messages in July this year. Thanks to this move, developers and companies could now offer features that require more than 140 characters; Indosat’s service messages just one such example. We expect other developers to offer such features in the future, but the big questions remains – How will Twitter monetize such transactions over its platform?

Services over Twitter in India

– In March, Jet Airways started using Twitter hashtags to give users flight status and lowest fares. To use the feature, users needed to follow Jet Airways’ official Twitter handle @jetairways and use the hashtag #JetInstant to get information.

– In January, Kotak Mahindra Bank launched a new saving account product called Jifi Saver, that could be managed via the customer’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Customers could sign up for a Jifi Saver account on the website using their Facebook or Twitter credentials. The account also featured Hashtag banking which let users send commands to their accounts by using hashtags.

– The same month, ICICI Bank introduced a number of banking transactions on Twitter. The service named icicibankpay, would allow its customers to transfer money, recharge prepaid mobiles, check account balances and the last three bank transactions over direct messages on Twitter.