TechCrunch today announced number for Indiaâ€™s Twitter Like SMS Gupshup . They have grown to an impressive 26 Million you can go for the details here.
We also have here two such efforts which revolved around the same idea, the first one was Mango which was later bought re branded by UFone and became a UFone Centric VAS as SMS Buddies, the second one which is headed by none other than our own Dr Umar Saif, who has also been a catalyst for some other startups likeÂ Â Bumpin and the recently funded SeeNReport.
From an opportunity stand point we have a similar ground to play or in fact a better one, the mobile phone Subscribers in Pakistan are a whooping 94.3 Million (Source PTA ) which is an impressive 58% penetration. Compared to that our Internet Penetration is standing at only 5 million (source ISPAK) so the PC to Mobile ratio we have is much higher than whatâ€™s in India.
I could not get Number for Mango or Ufone Buddies but Chopaal announced in August that their monthly traffic has exceeded 1,000,000 SMS. How many total SMSes travel our network each day would be a very very high number in my estimate.
I am a very non sms type of mobile phone subscriber but even for me the SMSes I receive and send cross 50 daily (including all the forwarded messages i receive), and I am sure our teenage group who is always clicking on their cell phones even when they are having dinner or talking to you, they send a lot more.
In my opinion Chopaal has a better opportunity of Growth at this time as Mango is already sold, and our Telecom Operators have a tendency to only focus on one VAS at a time so they donâ€™t spend any marketing budget on a VAS few months after the launch (When was the last time you saw an add or mention of Ufone Buddies). Mango Party was rebranded with UFone and Confiz (the creators of the product) work on a revenue sharing model with them, also according to the interview on CIO (Thaks Adil for pointing it out) they have another deployment with Zen telecom, Chopaal as i know is still going solo, only time will tell which business model is more appealing and revenue generating usually in mobile space the services with telco tend to take off earlier but we have also seen products like twitter disrupt the market without any dedicated telco support.
The only issue that i see facing both of these services and any other which is out there is awareness in masses about existence of such a service.
I am 100% sure that the day I tell my younger sister that there is a service out there which will enable her to broadcast one sms to multiple people with the cost of sending only one sms, she will jump on it without thinking for a second. also the type of user base which is target market for this will not even care if they receive a couple of Advertisement for the cost that they save through this.
From an advertisers point of view this is pure gold, if i can send specific marketing messages to specific people and not just send it out to all this is a value proposition that they would pay a premium for, go tell an Internet Provider that they can send text to a specific age group in a specific city for student discount, and see how they drool, so I am sure that getting revenues for this would not be an issue.
And for any such service at this moment the barrier to entry is very low, who ever moves fast and grows a sizable community will have the advantage. The core to success of any such service (Or any social network for the matter is) to grow as fast as they can. I am sure any one can make a twitter clone today but no one can create a user base of that size.
As noted by our readers and from other sources, i was mistaken in my earlier assumption of Mango being bought by UFone the post is updated, thanks for every one who pointed this out/