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Direct downloads from kiosks!

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Broken In

Phoneytunes, a Delhi-based mobile value-added services (VAS) company, has developed a product that offers a range of value-added services (like ringtones and wallpapers) that users can buy from ‘mobile-download kiosks’. On a trial basis, it has set up 10 such kiosks in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. For six of these, it has tied up with Planet M, under the brand name MobiDig. The rest are under the PhoneyTunes brand name MServe.

What is different about the PhoneyTune kiosks is that they are independent of the service provider. Payment is made by dropping cash into the money slots at the kiosk. A ringtone, for instance, costs Rs 10 while a full song costs Rs 50. For GPRS-enabled handsets, the applications are transferred via Bluetooth or IR, for other it is through SMS.

So far, the mobile aggregators have had to approach users only through service providers like Hutch or Airtel, and it was the latter who got the lion’s share of the user revenue from VAS applications. The players had no choice as there was no payment mechanism that could bypass the service provider (see ‘Mobile Partners Come Of Age’ on page 60).

Whether the PhoneyTune kiosks will lead to a change in revenue-sharing patterns is still to be seen. Though Phoneytunes is planning 1,000 kiosks by March 2007, the larger chunk of its revenue will continue to come from its dealings with service providers. Still, this is a step forward for the VAS players towards building up a revenue stream independent of the service providers.
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