Hike messaging app has released a new service called Total which allows users to make money transfer and chat with their contacts available to Indian Android users without using mobile data. The app also allows users to read news, transfer money and book train tickets.
According to the company, about 100 million Android users are using Hike messenger and the company is aiming to make basic services available to those who haven’t experienced the web yet. The company has been working on the “Total” for the past six months.
Kavin Mittal, Hike CEO explained in an interview with TNW that there are approx. 400 million smartphones users in India and about 200 million of them don’t even access the web often even though the mobile data services are cheaper than most other countries in the world. The Total service will reach that segment of smartphone users in next couple of years.
The tech being used for the payments, news and other services is the Universal Transfer Protocol (UTP) which is present on all GSM phone to deliver content from carriers and what powers the SIM Toolkit. This uses the same USSD tech which allows you to retrieve your mobile balance and other information by dialing a USSD code.
The Hike Total services also include horoscopes, sports scores and the Hike’s digital wallet. It allows the payments through two sources – Hike’s digital wallet as well as the Universal Payment Interface (UPI) which allows free money transfers between bank accounts.
Hike has partnered with some smartphone companies like Intex and Karbonn and will preload the Total service in their smartphones. These budget smartphones will use the same UTP to power Hike Total services. The user just has to use his mobile number to sign for the Total services. The new user will also get Rs. 200 for purchasing the mobile data plans or just sending money to someone.
Hike has also partnered with some major carriers like Airtel, Aircel and BSNL to make low-cost data packs available to Hike Total users, with packs starting at just Re 1. Apart from this, Hike Total also offers other services like PNR status enquiry, cricket updates, horoscope among others.