Vodafone launches Voice SMS for subscribers

Vodafone Essar, one of India’s leading cellular service providers, today launched Voice SMS service in 16 circles across India. With the launch of this service, any Vodafone customer can send a Voice SMS message to a mobile subscriber, anywhere in India, for a fixed price of 75 paise (approximately USD 0.01) per minute. The Voice SMS service is available to both prepaid and postpaid subscribers.

Vodafone Essar has brought the service to market using the Voice SMS solution from Kirusa, the world’s leading vendor of Voice SMS and a leading developer of mobile value-added services.

Fun and easy to use, this new service enables Vodafone subscribers to send Voice SMS messages to each other in their own voice, rather than by typing. Voice SMS is an enhanced mode of communication enriched with the sender’s voice, language and emotions, and offers complete flexibility in retrievals.

Vodafone’s Voice SMS service does not require any special handsets, or handset settings, for using this service. To send a message, a Vodafone subscriber simply dials * and the mobile number of the person to whom he wishes to send the message to, speaks for 30 seconds and disconnects. If the recipient is a Vodafone subscriber, he will receive a text SMS notification and can dial *0* to hear the Voice SMS. Old Voice SMS can be retrieved by dialing *1*. He also has the option of replying, forwarding, saving or deleting the Voice SMS messages. Subscribers who are not on Vodafone network will get a text SMS notification with an embedded DirectListen™ number which, when dialed, takes them to the message directly. The message recipient can select to reply after listening to the Voice SMS.

Vodafone subscribers will pay 75 paise per minute (approximately USD 0.01) to send a Voice SMS. Listening to the Voice SMS for the first time is free of charge. Subsequent retrieval of a Voice SMS is charged at 75 paise per minute. Replying to and forwarding a Voice SMS will also be charged at 75 paise.

Commenting on the launch, Harit Nagpal, Director Marketing and New Business at Vodafone Essar says, “We are delighted that our subscribers will now have another option of reaching out to their friends, family and business associates.”

Kirusa has deployed its Voice SMS application, integrated with HP Opencall Media Platform, in the Vodafone network across India.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch, Erwan Menard, Vice President and General Manager of Communications and Media Solutions at HP, commented, “Vodafone Essar is building customer loyalty with this highly innovative service enabled by Kirusa and HP.” He added, “The HP OpenCall Media Platform and Kirusa’s Voice SMS solution create a powerful combination that will help Vodafone deliver a rich communications experience for its millions of wireless customers.”

“We are excited to work with Vodafone to bring Voice SMS to its subscribers across India. I am sure that with Vodafone entering this market, both the usage and subscriber awareness will accelerate, leading to increased ARPU and incremental revenues,” says Taranjit Singh Batra, VP Sales of Kirusa.

The adoption of the Voice SMS service by Indian carriers and consumers is allowing Voice SMS to enter a mass adoption phase like text SMS.
About Vodafone Essar

Vodafone Essar in India is a subsidiary of Vodafone Group Plc and commenced operations in 1994 when its predecessor Hutchison Telecom acquired the cellular license for Mumbai. Vodafone Essar now has operations in 21 circles with over 56.70 million customers*.

Over the years, Vodafone Essar, under the Hutch brand, has been named the ‘Most Respected Telecom Company’, the ‘Best Mobile Service in the country’ and the ‘Most Creative and Most Effective Advertiser of the Year’.

Vodafone is the world’s leading international mobile communications company. It now has operations in 25 countries across 5 continents and 40 partner networks with over 269 million customers worldwide. Vodafone has partnered with the Essar Group as its principal joint venture partner for the Indian market.

Essar Global Limited (EGL) is a diversified business group spanning the manufacturing and services sectors of Steel, Energy, Power, Communications, Shipping & Logistics, and Projects. The group has operations and investments in India, Canada, USA, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean and South East Asia and employs 30,000 people worldwide.

* Figures from Cellular Operators Association of India, October 31, 2008

About Kirusa
Kirusa is the world’s leading vendor of Voice SMS and a leading developer of mobile value added services. Kirusa’s solutions include the hugely successful KV.SMS™, the world’s most advanced “Voice SMS” solution that has been selected by more than twenty five carriers around the world. The Voice SMS solution allows mobile subscribers to send and reply to SMS messages with voice. Kirusa’s solution works on all handsets and on all networks, and offers the industry’s most intuitive user interface, with features such as Direct Listen™ for direct access and reply to messages, Speed Codes™ for quickly sending messages, group messaging, mobile number portability, background music, interconnection, international Voice SMS. KV.SMS can be deployed in a matter of weeks, and its rapid user adoption has led to explosive revenue growth for Kirusa’s customers. Kirusa offers an exchange service for interconnection of Voice SMS messages between carriers, and is pioneering a suite of applications that touch mobile users through voice. Kirusa has partnered with Qualcomm to deliver a Brew client for sending and receiving Voice SMS messages. Kirusa solutions are built on Kirusa’s patented and patent pending technology and its highly reliable and scalable multimodal platform. The platform enables subscribers to cost effectively deploy additional revenue-generating services such as messaging, search, information, and entertainment applications. Kirusa’s solutions are used by mobile subscribers millions of times every day. Kirusa has been recognized as one of top 100 technology companies by Silicon India, and one of top 25 emerging technology companies by Smart Techie magazine. Headquartered in New Jersey and led by an experienced team of wireless telecom executives and technologists, Kirusa has sales offices in three continents, with research and development facilities in New Delhi and in Bangalore, India. ‘Kirusa Voice SMS,’ ‘Direct Listen ’and ‘Speed Codes’ are trademarks of Kirusa, Inc.

Source: Kirusa

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