It has become quite common as of late for mobile service providers to move from standing against voice over IP and instant messaging services and instead strike a deal to cash in on their inevitable growth, and at the same time make up for some lost text messaging revenues.
As reported by The Economic Times, Aircel is the latest carrier to join this trend and has partnered with Nimbuzz to provide its customers with free access to the mobile messaging app. This is, of course, assuming the customer has the appropriate data plan tacked onto their monthly service. The service will start initially in Jammu & Kashmir and will move to Delhi in a few weeks and other areas in the Northeast starting in May.
“Jammu & Kashmir is highly regulated market, where SMS services are unavailable; so our focus is on data,” Sundeep Talwar, Aircel’s operations head for J&K, said. “In the last 15 days, after the launch of Nimbuzz, data usage from our users in J&K went up by 25%.”
By selling customers costly data plans, providers have side-stepped revenue losses caused with the drop in text usage as a result of the continued rise in popularity of messaging applications.
“In 2012, operators were essentially fighting the rising popularity of free messaging apps, but towards the end of the year they realised that they cannot compete so they might as well tie up and offer subscription packages,” said Neha Dharia, an analyst at technology research firm Ovum.
VoIP apps in particular will cost carriers $479 billion USD by 2020 as customers continue to switch to app solutions, reaching one billion total app users by 2017 according to Juniper Research.