Today, Hike announced a new product ‘Total, Built by Hike’. The ‘Total’ is a unique service that targets Android users who are unaware of data packs or not using any. It lets users access necessary services like messaging, payments, recharge, News and lot more without an active internet connection. It also has services like Horoscope, Wallet, Cricket score and Rail Information. All of these work without data packs.
Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder, and CEO of Hike said that the company’s focus is to bring more Indians online with Total. He clarified that India has 400 million unique smartphone users but about 200 million of them don’t access the web often, or at all.
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The ‘Total’ is based on the USSD protocol which does the heavy lifting of encryption, compression, and transmission of data. The ‘Total, built by Hike’ has supercharged USSD that helps in bringing an uninterrupted experience to the users even an active data connection.
To launch this product, Hike has worked with telecom partners for enabling the USSD technology and Data Upsell. The company has tied up with Airtel, Aircel, and BSNL as telecom partners. So, it has already covered 42% of the telecom market. The company is also in talks with Vodafone India to join this initiative.
This will still need data for viewing media-rich news with photos or sending pictures. If a user tries to do these things, it will prompt users to buy data. So, Total has also made available low-cost data packers with partner telecom operators and these packs start at Rs. 1 for 20 MB 4G data.
By partnering with local smartphone companies, Hike has also embedded UTP into the Android platform. So, users can experience the service on their phone with just USSD codes and it doesn’t cost anything. The Hike Total will be available starting March 1 on Smartphones Intex Aqua Lions T1, Intex Aqua Lions N1, Intex Aqua Lions T1 Lite and Karbonn A40 Indian. These devices will be available in March and price will also be in between Rs.3500 and Rs. 5000.
Users of Hike Total will also get up to Rs. 200 in Hike Wallet. Users can spend this money on any of the Total services when they buy one of the devices supporting Total.
You can sign up for Hike Total if you are interested in getting early access.
The service looks interesting, but it will have to advertise it enough to let users know what and how they can use Total. After the launch of Reliance Jio, most of the users have started using the Internet. And people who are not using are those who do not want to use it. Convincing them to use USSD will also be challenging.