MWC

WhatsApp rival Hike brings its services to Android devices without data

Tyrone Stewart

Hike TotalIndian messaging app Hike has introduced a version of Android that enables users to access the app’s services – even without an active data connection.

Total gives users the opportunity to access services such as messaging, news, recharge, and more. The services on the product only use between under 100KB to 1MB, helping to target those with low budget smartphones and limited data. Users can purchase data packs starting as low as one rupee.

“For the next billion true mobile first users, coming online can be still be quite complicated and intimidating. Simplify, simplify, simplify. That’s all we’ve been doing,” said Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and CEO of Hike. “We’ve taken the 15–20 step process of someone coming online and made it into only a few steps?—?buy a phone, turn it on and you’re good to go. Everything, all the essential services all work out of the box even without data.

“Our goal is to bring India online and online means data so we’ve also made it extremely simple to buy data packs right contextually inside the OS itself. We’ve worked closely with telcos on special data packs for these phones starting as low as Re 1/- to give people a taste of what it feels like. This is really powerful.”

Hike has partnered Airtel, Aircel, and BSNL – which cover 42 per cent of the Indian telecom market combined – to implement the USSD adaption. It has also partnered with Intex and Karabonn to launch Total OS-powered smartphones.

The introduction of Total is Hike’s move to attempt to make a dent in WhatsApp’s dominance in the Indian messaging market. The Facebook-owned app boasts 200m monthly users in India.