SMS2.0, which includes search, will dial up ARPUs by 10% – DNA India

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NEW DELHI, 6 July 2007: SMS2.0, the next generation of SMS which stands for short message and search, is expected to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) of mobile operators by at least 10%, according to Affle CEO and chairman Anuj Khanna.

UK-headquartered Affle is the mobile media enabler, on which value-add services (VAS) such as SMS2 could be launched. Bharti Airtel and Affle had launched the pilot project of SMS2.0 in India last month.

Besides India, Singapore also rolled out a pilot project for the next-gen SMS recently.

Operators’ ARPUs have been on a decline globally, as well as in India. GSM player Hutch Essar’s (now Vodafone Essar) blended ARPU (post and pre-paid taken together) is Rs 390 per subscriber per month, as of March 31, 2007, down from Rs 414 in the previous quarter.

Market leader Bharti’s ARPU is Rs 406 as of quarter ending March 2007, compared with Rs 427 in the previous quarter. Idea Cellular, another GSM player, also showed a drop in ARPU at Rs 317 during the quarter ending March 2007, compared with Rs 322 in the previous quarter.

CDMA major Reliance Communications, which is the second largest private wireless operator in the country, has however shown an ARPU of Rs 377 as of March 31, 2007, up from Rs 328 in the previous quarter.

SMS2.0 can include colours, emoticons, scheduled SMS and other personalisation options. Through media and content partners, the platform enables free delivery of news headlines, movie trailers and promotions.