Airtel, Affle Launch SMS 2.0

Monday, September 22, 2008:  Bharti Airtel, together with Affle, has launched what it calls a revolutionary upgrade to SMS that allows users to trigger Search from their friendly SMS screen, thus redefining SMS forever to Short Message & Search 2.0 (SMS 2.0).
Commenting on the launch of Search integrated SMS 2.0 experience, Sanjay Gupta, chief marketing officer, Bharti Airtel, said, “The uptake of the SMS 2.0 has been very encouraging, and we are embarking to take this platform to a different level – introducing search through SMS. This new upgrade service will thus allow Airtel users to Search – Airtel live, Internet, local search, jobs and property listings, from their SMS screen.”

This integration of Search on SMS, has been conceptualised and developed by Affle through its R&D efforts in Singapore and India. According to Anuj Khanna, CEO, Affle, “India is a very exciting mobile market, and in Airtel we have found a great partner to take our services to users. We had tremendous success with the SMS 2.0 service, and with the launch of Search, we feel that the value proposition to the user is even more exciting. Our research shows that the Search behaviour of users on the mobile phone is very different from the Internet and hence integration of exciting local and other user relevant Search options on the easy to use SMS interface makes this experience very enticing.”

This service also opens up a revenue model driven around delivering contextual advertising on the search results. As part of this partnership, the task of delivering and monetisation of this advertising also rests jointly with Affle and Airtel.

The Short Message & Search 2.0 (SMS 2.0) application is available to users for free. To download SMS 2.0, the Airtel customers need to send ‘SMS2’ to 543210. There is no charge for downloading and for subsequent content delivery on this platform; the SMS charges remain unchanged and according to the existing mobile plan.