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Reliance Communications to launch WhatsApp-like messenger

Reliance Communications will launch a competitor to popular messaging applications WhatsApp and Viber.

The application will support both text and voice messaging and calls.

The company has seen its SMS revenue take a hit due to the emergence of WhatsApp, Viber and other similar messaging or OTT applications.

whatsapp

“The application is in pilot stage and we have nearly 2.75 lakh people on the platform,” said Vinod Sawhny, CEO of Reliance Communications today.

Kavin Mittal, Bharti Airtel founder Sunil Mittal’s son, has also launched a similar application called Hike, with backing from venture capitalists. Hike has been aggressively promoting itself by hiking the size of files that can be sent on its network, and by dispensing with the yearly fee. WhatsApp charges about Rs 55 per year in exchange for not showing its users advertisements or trying to track their activities and interests.

Several years ago, telecom industry had tried to come up with a SMS 2.0 application that would have had most of the functionality of today’s messengers, including colorful text and attachments.

SMS is a lucrative business for telecom operators as the estimated cost of sending an SMS is estimated at around 1-2 paise, while the average charge levied from customers is about Rs 1 to 1.5 per message.

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