SMS Country Networks launches free personal SMS

Written by S Shyamala | Chennai, Oct 18 | Updated: Oct 19 2007, 06:03am hrs
Hotmail rewrote the rules of communication via the internet in 1997 by introducing free personal email. Taking the cue, SMS Country Networks Pvt Ltd has launched a free personal SMS service through its website www.160by2.com.

The name of the website explains how the service works. Out of the160 characters available for an SMS, users can send a message of up to 80 characters and advertisers can append a contextual advertisement in the remaining 80 characters.

Sanyog Jain, chief operating officer, SMS Country, said in a telephonic interview to FE that users opt to append an advertisement in their message and in turn are allowed to send the SMS for free to any national number. Sending an SMS through a website is simpler than typing it using a mobile phone, he added.

Moreover, from a business point of view, advertisements sent on mobile phones from known persons have better impact on the target audience than any other traditional medium, he asserted.

The Hyderabad-based company is a bulk SMS provider to business houses. Its services include sending alerts and product profiles to customers on mobile phones. SMS Country offers its services across 200 countries over 250 networks, Sanyog said.

Launched in May this year, 160by2 has about 50,000 registered users at present, and sends out about a million messages a month, he said. The service got publicised only by word of mouth, he added.

The company has 10 national brands including McDonalds, Dominoes, and Cadbury's as clients, and is in talks with several regional players such as showrooms and restaurants to run campaigns for the festive season, Sanyog said.

As an extension to their services, SMS Country is in talks with national telecom service providers including Airtel and Idea, to offer mobile-to-mobile free SMS on the same 160-character format, he said. Moreover, the service can be offered from third party websites also on a revenue sharing model, he added.