of messaging with content and advertising. That's the new 'text' reality as Bharti Airtel has announced a major upgrade to the popular application, SMS. In a tie-up with UK-based mobile media innovations firm Affle, the telecom company has launched SMS 2.0, which is, for now, available to mobile phone subscribers in Delhi and the NCR.
While sending an SMS, users usually see a 'sending message' icon on their mobile phone screens; now, during that time, with Airtel-Affle's SMS 2.0, they can listen to advertisements and content such as news and cricket updates - strictly on the subject of one's choice.
There is apparently no scope for any spam messages as the user is required to define the mobile content by specifying his area of interest and registering after he has downloaded the new application. So, the ads and the content will be woven together totally as per the user's choice.
Ads on SMS 2.0 are interactive as they contain a set of "call-to-action" features such as call now, call-me-back, buy-now, launch video, answer-survey or simply view web page. The service also gives subscribers the power of interaction, thanks to colourful display screens to customise SMS messages and emoticons.
Commenting on the partnership with Airtel, Anuj Kumar, executive director (South Asia), Affle, said in a statement, "We are excited to partner with Airtel in India. SMS 2.0 is a media for which the leading content partners and advertisers are already creating customized campaigns." Advertisers including Perfetti Van Melle, Aviva, ICICI, Levi's, HPCL, Indiatimes, Makemytrip.com, Britannia, GoodYear, Cricinfo.com and Group M Interactions have already joined hands with Airtel and Affle.
There are about 60 million mobile phone users who regularly use SMS and Airtel expects at least 20 million users to switch to this free application when it is made compatible with other handsets.