WhatsApp gets ‘desi’ rival as BSNL enters instant messaging space

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New Delhi | Updated: April 11, 2019 5:22:15 PM

Like WhatsApp, the MyBSNL app lets users chat with other customers, besides recharge mobile, pay postpaid and utility bills among others

The insurmountable popularity of WhatsApp sent shivers down the spine of rival companies that specialise in offering instant messaging services. But it also served as a model to the companies that are loosely related to the concept of IM. BSNL, the state-owned telecom operator, has drawn inspiration from WhatsApp to revamp its MyBSNL app. The new MyBSNL app now lets customers chat with others without any charge, in addition to offering regular facilities that were available earlier.

The chat service is called AddFone, which BSNL introduced sometime back. It will be available only to BSNL subscribers who have enrolled for the ‘MyBSNL Rewards’ membership. The app rewards its users when they successfully complete watching “nominated advertising campaigns”. The advertisements can be chosen to suit the interests of users. These rewards can be redeemed on partner websites or converted into cash back. There is a separate ‘Special Offers’ section available in the app that users can navigate to if they are looking for offers and more.

The users who are not BSNL customers can also opt for MyBSNL services, however, not all of them are available. The app lets users pick ‘fancy numbers’ that are usually not sold at regular retailers. These mobile numbers have unique sequences and come at a cost. The MyBSNL app also provides a map of international Wi-Fi hotspots across 44 thousand locations across the world for users to access the Internet at low costs.

The MyBSNL lets users recharge mobile, pay postpaid and utility bills among others. The app also logs daily count for calls, data usage, and SMSes and makes it available to the users. The OTP verification step for prepaid mobile numbers has been removed on the new version.

As per the Google Play store listing, the MyBSNL app was refreshed in April to include more features. It is, however, not been updated on the App Store for the iPhone.

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