UK's YouTring plans to launch mobile service in India

By Tarana Khan , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | August 21, 2008
The IP telephony and social networking site is planning to launch its mobile application in India

YouTring, the & #BANNER1 & # social networking and Internet (IP) telephony site of the UK based company, iCallGlobe, is keenly eyeing the Indian market.

Apart from social networking features such as photo and video sharing, the site offers free SMS, online calls and voice chat. Through various activities on the site, the members earn points which can be redeemed for gifts. Launched in May, YouTring has about 25,000 members, of which 15,000 are from India.

The company is in the first stage of testing its mobile application, which will be launched by the end of October. The application will allow its members to perform the same functions as on the site, on the mobile. Therefore, users can make free calls using the GPRS connection or WiFi (wireless Internet) of the mobile, without using the operator's network.

Sudhi B Menon
Speaking to afaqs!, Sudhi B Menon, co-founder and head, business development, iCallGlobe, says, "Our goal is to tap the huge mobile segment in India. We are targeting 15-20 per cent of the mobile subscriber base, or about 100 million subscribers, by 2012."

The company plans to launch a range of value added services once high speed 3G becomes available in India. These services include watching TV channels on the mobile, saving the mobile's contact list and international SMS at economical rates.

Menon adds that the company is also applying for an ISP and ILD licences and plans to become a mobile operator – either independently or through a tieup with a local operator.

The company has been encouraged by the fact that the Indian government has lifted restrictions on IP telephony. iCallGlobe has been in this industry since 2004 and claims earnings of $10 million a year from IP telephony services, and is aiming at a revenue of $122 million annually by 2012.

For the desktop application and site, the business model is largely based on fees and some online advertising. Menon says this model will eventually change to one depending largely on ads.

On mobile, the model will be largely advertising based. The company is looking for a strategic alliance with a mobile ad network.