India is the biggest base for Truecaller’s Premium service, with about 720,000 subscribers, accounting for close to 60% of the company’s global Premium subscriber base, Manan Shah, the company’s India marketing director said in response to a question raised by MediaNama during a call with reporters today. Globally, Truecaller has about 1.2 million Premium subscribers, Shah said. This represents a tiny fraction of the 150 million subscribers Truecaller has in India. Shah said that there are no plans to increase pricing for Premium, which is currently priced at Rs 549 for a year in India.
Truecaller has both monthly as well as yearly pricing, and older subscribers haven’t all had their prices increased. So based on a monthly average of Rs 40–45 (the old pricing was Rs 30, and the annual pricing works out to around Rs 46 per month), Truecaller likely makes in the neighbourhood of Rs 34 crores per year from premium subscriptions in the country. Note that the margin of error here may be high because of varying pricing on iOS and Android.
Updates to app
Truecaller also unveiled some updates to its Android and iOS apps. The latest version of the app will also have a new “Important” tab highlighting messages such as recurring bill payments and bank transactions. The company said the app will not miss any of those updates because the feature is built on top of the core SMS app of the operating system. Truecaller said it will soon start categorising messages related to hotel bookings, once travel resumes.
The new SMS categorisation feature is “very privacy focused, as the categorisation is happening on the device and nothing is going to Truecaller’s servers,” Hitesh Bhagat, Truecaller India’s corporate communications director clarified. The functionality will work even if a user’s phone is not connected to the internet, Bhagat said. “Any sensitive information such as banking data, OTPs, etc. never leave the device,” Rishit Jhunjunwala, Truecaller VP for product further claimed.
Truecaller also launched a new full screen caller ID feature, which will replace the traditional Truecaller pop-up caller ID. The feature is opt-in, and is currently available only to Android users. “This [feature] has taken us quite a while [to develop], because it required deep integration into Android”, Bhagat said. If a user chooses to switch to the full screen caller-ID, then it will not be possible to record calls. The company did not give a timeframe for when this feature will be available to iPhone users. The company clarified that the size of ads in the full screen mode will remain the same as before.
Talking about trends in spam and scam messages, Jhunjunwala said that in the initial few weeks of the lockdown, spam messages dropped, but went back to pre lockdown levels after a few weeks. Currently, the company is “seeing higher level of spam, and in some countries more scam messages being sent,” he said.