Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani has made an undisclosed personal investment in Mubble, a smartphone app that lets users track their telecom spends and mobile data usage. As of now, the app is available only on Android in multiple Indian languages like Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Bengali, other than English.
The use the app, users first need to turn on Mubble from accessibility (the app guides a user through this step) and then makes a service call to check the user’s balance. Users then need to make a call to display call information including the amount deducted per call. Similarly for data usage stats to appear, users first need to toggle the data on and off, post which the app registers usage automatically. The app also claims to support multiple SIM cards.
Other than data usage and call balance, the app displays a listing of the call cost, balance and duration of each call as well as the data usage of each app. It also displays the breakdown of data usage based on automatic usage and used by the user basis. Note however, the app only counts data used over mobile networks, and will not help users looking to monitor WiFi usage. Finally, the app optionally displays call balance and data balance in the user’s notifications.
The app is pretty useful, but there are a few features that would be very useful to add, for example, breakdown of data usage on various WiFi networks, displaying balance on the dialer and the ability to set alerts when running out of data.
Interestingly, the app claims to work using “advanced self-learning, offline-capable, on-device text analytics engine”, which we imagine means that the company reads the text off of the service messages received by the user after calls. This is reinforced by the fact that the user needs to make a call and toggle data on off (typically triggering service messages) to work. The app also claims to work offline and doesn’t seem to serve ads as yet.
Founded in 2013 and launched earlier this year by Ashwin Ramaswamy, Pranav Jha and Raghvendra Varma, Mubble currently has over half a million downloads on Google Play, of which it claims nearly half use the app in Indian languages.
Among others, we found Pune based Optinno Mobitech‘s an Android app called Balance Recharge & mOre (BRO) which helps users get their talktime balance, online recharge options based on the number of apps in the phone and internet balance tracking. The app basically asks the user to key in their mobile number, select whether it is a prepaid or a post paid number and then provides main balance information, where the phone dialler runs the USSD code for retrieving this information.
BRO claims to support all GSM mobile operators across India and plans to add internet balance tracking (prepaid and postpaid), special recharges, talktime, internet and other service pack expiry tracking as well as an automated reminder. It also plans to list all USSD codes, customised options for talktime and internet recharge based on phone usage in the future. The app needs app history and device permissions along with contacts, location, SMS, call logs, network access among others. The company’s other offerings include two Android apps called SMS Blocker Clean Inbox and Call blocker & more Tools.
(With inputs from Sneha Johari)