Star India to launch voice and video on mobiles

Mumbai, Aug 30 | Updated: Aug 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
Star India, which already has text based mobile services, will also launch a voice and a video service on mobiles shortly. The company is planning to renew its thrust on the mobile services space, which is handled by its division called Star Interactive.

Star already has an alliance with BSNL to deliver content over the mobile. It tied up with Hutch last week and will also forge alliances with other telecom operators like Airtel and others shortly. It will also tie up with various content providers of games and other mobile content.

Star India senior vice president (Interactive Services) Viren Popli said, "We already have a relationship with a huge audience base which we will leverage for our mobile initiatives. This will also provide a huge opportunity for other content and service providers."

Popli added that pricing issues need to be sorted out. "There needs to be clarity on how much the user is paying for the services provided by the telecom operator and the content provider. At present, users just pay one lump sum without knowing the break-up."

He added that the opportunity for mobile value added services (VAS) is huge, as the mobile customer base has grown from 8 million users in 2004 to 120 million users in 2006.

Voice based services, analysts say, is more popular in smaller cities and towns and hence Star's initiative on voice portal is a logical business proposal. However, in case of big cities, text based services like premium SMS, subscribing for ringtones and caller tunes is more popular. Accent, however, remains a hurdle in case of voice portals.

Star is also planning to use un-aired videos like behind the scene clippings and certain candid shots of its television programmes. However, with the addition of more mobile users every month, the popularity of this space is seen on an uptrend.