UFONE Push-to-Talk and Song-Catcher – what’s up with the network?

October 19, 2008 4:40 am 6 comments

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Update: The UFONE Song Capture is apparently a rip-off of the Airtel Song Catcher VAS in India… maybe its the same vendor.

I’m not going to spend a lot of time writing about the possible tech behind this, but UFONE seems to be on a roll introducing somewhat interesting services over their GSM network.

The first is "UFONE Walkie-Talkie" push-to-talk service which is compatible with Nokia PTT phones.

The second is the "Song Catcher" service – this is something I’ve needed often… if you’re hearing something interesting on the radio or TV, dial a number and put your phone near the speaker. You’ll get an SMS with the name of the artist.


Two things I’m curious about:

(1) Has someone tried the song-catcher service to see how accurate it is? Doing audio-recognition on the fly and having a massive database of songs to make this work would be pretty impressive.

(2) These are the types of services that I think are usually billed on 3G networks because of the high-bandwidth, high-priority network channels needed (for PTT anyway).

Could some telecom geniuses shed some light on how they’re able to offer these on GSM networks?

Could some people who’ve used the services tell me how good they are?

Facebook comments:


  • there is an iphone app called shazam.. which does song recognization and it is simply awesome. The technology behind it is not that hard but it is an interesting offer..

  • Wasif

    Ufone is using PTT-over-GPRS. Non real time voice does not need very high bandwidth; also in a one way conversation, delays are very much bearable. It is not meant for long conversations and is more like a Voice SMS thing so delays are only natural.

    PTT is a good way to make revenue because it utilizes the mostly unused GPRS channels and its cheap, both for the operator and the customer. PTT was a huge hit in the US and as far as I can predict, this is going to be huge in Pakistan too. Just wait and see.

  • Ashar

    The Sony Ericsson Walkman series actually had this long before. It is called TrackID and it sends the clip which consists of seconds of a song to the Gracenote servers. http://www.gracenote.com/

    Having used TrackID numerous times, it is very accurate and the only time I had misinformation is when there was a good amount of static in the clip I recorded. It uses GPRS so you get charged for one instance of a connection each time you use the feature.

  • Zafar

    Dear All,
    I personally experienced both services, and both are excellent and believe me it works excellent ( not everytime for PTT) as it doesn’t work on my handset but it was gr8 on 6300. and about the song catcher it is working great. As per my friend working there, Ufone has 15000 songs in there DB and they are increasing it daily. The only Flaw or you can say the advantage is this we get the real details so now i know that 90% of indian songs are copied from english songs with the same music…

  • Zafar – thanks for the details.

  • hoyas

    The tech is pretty cool actually. there is a fingerprint for each song in the
    database. The database has 10 million songs. There is a fingerprint matching algorithm used which returns a result in 5 seconds. It will cover any english song out there and a lot of Pakistani and Bollywood songs. 15000 are the number of songs that you can download content for. It is not only a song recognition service but if the song u recognize is on UTunes you will get an option to set it as you Ring Back Tone. Also you can dedicate the song etc or download it.

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