RealNetworks to drive Idea Cellular Ringback tone service in India



By Telecom Lead Team: RealNetworks India, a
digital entertainment services company, has signed a Ringback Tone (RBT) deal
with Idea Cellular.


The deal is happening at a time when Idea
Cellular is looking at improving VAS revenue. Idea Cellular is India’s 3rd
largest mobile services operator with over 100 million subscribers.


Idea Cellular plans strategies to improve non-voice revenue


In 2011, Idea Cellular decided to focus on
improving its revenues from non-voice segment in coming years. In the first two
quarters of 2011-12, Idea Cellular’s non-VAS revenues as a percentage to total
revenue declined.


The VAS deal with RealNetworks is a
significant step for Idea Cellular which is facing pressure on maintaining
revenue from voice business.


Idea is also targeting to improve adoption
of SMS services, where current penetration is only 39 percent. Similarly, 60
percent of Idea consumers use GPRS/EDGE devices and only 10 percent of them are
active users, so Idea cellular is putting efforts to boost the same.

RealNetworks won the deal after a rigorous
open bidding process ahead of many global and India VAS players.


RealNetworks will power Dialer Tones for 10
key circles in Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP West, UP East, Bihar, Orissa, West
Bengal, Kolkata, Assam and North East.


The subscriber base of these circles
constitute about one-third of Idea Cellular’s total base, who will now have
access to globally advanced and innovative service features.


“Dialer Tones has matured as a product
and growth has stagnated.  There is a need to invest in innovation and
think out-of-the-box. We hope to partly address this through our partnership
with RealNetworks. After a rigorous evaluation process, RealNetworks emerged as
‘best fit’ for the job at hand. We hope to leverage their global expertise in
music, technology and licensing,” said Sashi Shankar, CMO, Idea Cellular.


“RealNetworks’ global expertise in RBT
deployment, combined with Idea Cellular’s deep and ongoing commitment to its
subscribers’ satisfaction, means that Idea’s subscribers will have the
opportunity to enjoy innovative, reliable and fun RBT services,” said DJ
Lee, head of RealNetworks AsiaPacific.


RealNetworks RBT ASP service is available
through 16 mobile operators in 10 countries around the world with 588 million

Recently, RealNetworks opened its second
office in India in Mumbai as a result of the new deal with Idea Cellular.


“RealNetworks India plans to
aggressively expand our base with multiple carriers in Mumbai as well as across
the country. We will move ahead to bring RealNetworks globally proven VAS
services and expertise from advanced markets like USA, Korea and Europe to the
fast-growing and promising India market,” said DJ Kim, country manager,
RealNetworks India.


RealNetworks has been steadily growing its
business in India since the company opened its first office in National Capital
Region (NCR) in 2005. RealNetworks already provides RBT service for Tier 1 and
Tier 2 carriers as well as VAS operations to Tier 1 carriers.


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