WhatsApp rival Hike of India has recently been in the news. The reason being the introduction of a new Android version by Hike that lets users message, make payments and access information without an active data connection. This is especially done to offers services to people who don’t have access to the internet.
According to Hike, this modified mobile software, named as Total, would be available on four devices, starting from this March. For this, people would be able to message, access news, purchase bus tickets, get cricket scores and updates pay bills and recharge data allowances through a single login. This Total is dependent on technology that communicates with networks in a different way than standard wireless networks.
Hike, i.e. the joint venture of SoftBank Group Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd, is holding on to the fact that it would be able to connect more of India’s 1 billion-plus citizens to mobile services by offering much cheaper ways of access wireless networks. Also, here Hike regarded that almost 736 million Indians don’t have mobile network connections, so the company has more than 100 million users and was valued at $1.4 billion in its latest fundraising venture.
To this, Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and chief executive officer of Hike, stated in an interview that, “India has 400 million smartphone users but barely half of them are active internet users, and we want to close the gap for the bottom of pyramid users by helping them come online to a very, very simple internet. We are doing something radical to make the internet less daunting and complicated for these users”.
At present, Hike is teaming up with Indian phone makers Intex Technologies India Ltd. and Karbonn Mobiles to introduce the new smartphone models, which would cost around ₹3,500 to ₹5,000. Also, Hike added that Users would be able to switch on the new device, log in via a phone number and start using the services immediately.
The devices are based on a technology called USSD protocol that encrypts, compresses and transmits data. Users just need to buy inexpensive data packs from India’s leading telecom service providers including Bharti Airtel and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, starting as low as one rupee from within Total, thus introducing data to a whole category of new users.