Nimbuzz eyes unified licence for net telephony

Thomas K Thomas New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

The company may acquire the new licence for Rs 15 crore once the Govt announces the guidelines.

Instant messaging service provider Nimbuzz is looking at the possibility of offering net telephony in India on top of its text communications platform.

The company may acquire the new unified licence for Rs 15 crore once the Government announces the guidelines.

“We are interested in unified licence. We have to see the details before taking a final decision. This is a core part of what are doing in other parts of the world already,” Vikas Saxena, CEO, Nimbuzz, told Business Line.

Under the proposed unified licence regime, a company can offer Internet services, including voice telephony, by paying an entry fee of Rs 15 crore. Existing Internet licence permits net telephony within the country only for PC-to-PC calls. At present, Nimbuzz offers voice services for calls through a Skype-like platform outside India.

Gaming, virtual goods

The move is part of the company’s strategy to move beyond instant messaging including areas such as gaming and virtual goods. For instance, the company has partnered with telecom operators to launch a service called Nimbuckz which allows users to purchase virtual goods such as avatars, emoticons, virtual gifts and chat-based games.

There are more than 500,000 transactions a month already where users pay through the mobile operator. “Lack of credit card is a major hurdle, therefore we collect the fee on operator billing on a revenue share basis with telcos,” said Saxena.

The company is also leveraging other routes to monetise its business. For example, Nimbuzz already has brand advertising on its platform. “Brand dollar is going from TV to mobile. Out of the top 100 global consumer brands, 40-50 per cent works with us. We are seeing huge engagements,” said Saxena

The company, which started in 2006 and among the first to launch instant messaging services, is also enabling brands to create ‘chat buddies’ where users can talk with brand representatives right from the Nimbuzz messaging platform. Going forward, users will also be able to get discount vouchers or offers from brands without going online.

Over the past 24 months, instant messaging players have made a big dent into telecom companies’ revenue by eating into the SMS traffic. Globally, traffic on instant messaging has overtaken SMS.

Published on May 09, 2013

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