Think of it as another string college-goers cut. Kavin Mittal, Sunil Mittal’s son who runs the Hike Messenger service, has unshackled them from the bondage of Wi-Fi and data packs. Hike, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Japan’s SoftBank, on Thursday launched a service called Hike Direct that enables users to chat, exchange stickers, transfer photos and heavy files of any type, things users regularly do on Hike, without the internet and without incurring data charges.
The service allows mobile phones to connect with one another directly within a 100-metre radius completely bypassing telecom networks. Users can then chat and share files directly up to a speed of 40 Mbps with very low latency, comparable if not better than 4G speeds promised by telecom companies today.
For example, exchanging 100 MB of data would take less than 10 seconds on Hike Direct without, more importantly, incurring any data charge.
The services will for now be applicable only on Android phones but will be extended to iOS and Windows by next year.
Though messenger services like WhatsApp and Facebook messenger are extremely popular in India and growing rapidly among the youth, none of them so far provides communication without Wi-Fi or data packs, or in other words, by bypassing the telecom networks. The youngster crowd on college premises, in canteens and even classrooms can now freely chat without bothering to look at their prepaid balance. The services can also be used by office-goers to chat with one another within the premises.
“Today Hike Direct works one to one. Our next focus is to connect one to many. And post that we would work on how to expand the range beyond the 100-metre limit. There are ways to do it. The technology has to evolve. Some villages are not bigger than 200-300 metres. We would have a mini LAN (local area network) network going on Hike,” Kavin Mittal told FE. He pointed out that Hike Direct will be a game-changing proposition that will revolutionise the way people communicate. “We have a target to cross 100 million in next one year from the current base of 70 million,” he added.
Hike Direct may also have voice services later. “We have not yet taken a decision on offering voice services through Hike Direct. It is not happening as of now. We are considering it. But we have a long list to work on,” Kavin said.