The biggest fear for a smartphone user today is the curt message from the service provider that s/he has consumed 100% of the data limit. CheolwonCharlie Lee, a Korean who has been in India for 15 years has developed an Android app, True Balance that allows pre-paid smartphone users to keep track of it all. The app that Lee rolled out in January 2015 allows users to know how much data has been consumed, how much money is left and how many days for the next recharge with just a swipe.
Sitting on the fifth floor of the Star Tower in Gurgaon off the NH-8 , Lee with his team of 20 people has been closely involved with India’s mobile revolution. After being a partner of Hello Tunes in the early days, Lee started his own company Access Mobile in 2006. Yet, it was in 2014 that he realised that the telecom game has changed to the app model that any consumer could download.
True Balance has been downloaded 18 million times and Lee expects that number to hit 100 million by December 2017. Lee claims that True Balance has 6.5 million monthly active users (MAU) and 1 lakh new users a day. Lee is getting set for B series funding over the next few months.
As far as monetising the app is concerned, Lee has two models – advertising and recharges. The advertisements have just started. Lee has introduced technology to the recharge game too so that he gets a margin each time the user recharges. Another model that Lee is examining is to get other apps to pay a fee every time a download is initiated from the app.
Also whenever the data limit reaches 10MB or the main balance touches Rs 10, the user gets an alarm. As the user opts for one-touch recharge, he is offered two packs to choose from. While the first is based on the last data pack that he purchased, the second one is a recommendation based on his consumption amount and apps used most. If he uses WhatsApp, then he is offered a WhatsApp pack. After being in India, Lee plans to launch True Balance in Indonesia followed by other Asian markets including Malaysia and Thailand soon.
Lee believes that once 50-60 million downloads happen, then True Balance will be among the bigger players in the space. That would also make it difficult for others to catch on.
Right now, he is on the cusp of a data overload. Soon, True Balance can provide a clear picture on data usage by pre-paid mobile users. That can help identify circles where people download more, operators whose subscribers are the biggest consumers of data and areas where data is highly used. As things stand, the big data markets are not surprisingly Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.