BPL Mobile has become the first mobile operator in the world to extended its voice-based SMS service to international messaging, allowing its 1.2 million subscribers in Mumbai to send Voice SMS messages to mobile users across the world.
Kirusa, Providence, NJ-based inventor of Voice SMS, which provided the platform for BPL’s domestic service in 2007, has extended the facility to 22 countries and expansion to the middle east and other regions is planned soon.
A BPL Mobile subscriber dials *00 and the international number; records a voice message at his convenience; and then hangs up to send the message.
The recipient gets an SMS from the BPL Mobile subscriber, with an embedded link, which is a local number in his or her country. He or she can click on the Direct Listen link to directly listen to the message at the cost of a local call.
“Users today are demanding compelling services that make their lives easier and their work more productive. This service is another leap we are taking in that direction,” said Mr. S. Subramaniam, Director & CEO of BPL Mobile.
Mr. Sunzay Passari, VP-VAS and Devices at BPL Mobile, said, “The growing use of voice messaging services, and the feedback from our customers led us to offer the convenience and flexibility of Voice SMS on a global basis.” BPL notes that the subscriber does not have to worry about time zone differences or the high cost of international voice calling.
Coinciding with the International Voice SMS launch BPL also announced a scheme whereby subscribers can send unlimited Voice SMS messages to anyone in India for a flat fee of Rs. 50 per month.
Last year, Kirusa provided Voice SMS on a domestic basis to MTNL (both on the fixed and mobile network), and to Idea. Two more cellular operators are shortly expected to announce their voice SMS offering.
Further afield, Etisalat, both in Egypt and UAE and Grameenphone of Bangladesh have deployed the voice sms platform.