Jinny Sees Interest in VoiceSMS

Jinny Software, which supplies messaging and media platforms to mobile network operators, has revealed that it has a number of VoiceSMS trials underway with several mobile operators across Africa in countries including Kenya, Tanzania and Burkino Faso. The company says it expects many other operators across the region, and beyond, to further their interest in its VoiceSMS offering during 2010 onwards.
Implementing Jinnys VoiceSMS as an additional application on the Jinny Media Resource Server requires minimal additional investment, the company says. For an operator who has already implemented other Jinny voice services, such as Missed Call Notification and Voicemail, or personalisation services such as Ringback Tones, VoiceSMS is just another application that is hosted on the application servers. With this low CAPEX start, the company says. operators can expect a fast return on investment from VoiceSMS services, with messages offering a similar price point to standard texting.
The potential of VoiceSMS, says Jinny, can be seen from the example of one group operators network in Northern Africa, where a VoiceSMS service had accounted for around 5% of the blended ARPU less than two years after service launch. With an average of 8-10 VoiceSMSs sent per user per month, at a price of $0.05, the monthly VoiceSMS revenue by the start of 2009 was close to $1 million, justifying the operators investment in the service.
The African market is well suited for this additional and more affordable VAS, says Jinny, offering an alternative to voice at a reduced rate. An approach to pricing the service being considered by some group operators in Africa is to offer the same tariffs for VoiceSMS across all their African networks. In this scenario, a message sent between two different countries, but within the same operator group, is charged at one rate, regardless of origin and destination, with first retrieval included in the price. 
A further major advantage of VoiceSMS over text for the African market, says Jinny, is that it offers everyone, irrespective of language, alphabet, literacy level or handset, the chance to send a short personal message to the recipient. It also educates the customer base about voice-related services, still the primary and strongest revenue stream for network operators in Africa and the rest of the world.
The VoiceSMS service relies on fundamentally the same technology as voice mail, but is marketed and priced as an event-based messaging service like SMS, says Ludovic Patraud, Head of Product Management at Jinny Software. VoiceSMS Centre interconnection over IP provides a cost-effective way of delivering this voice messaging service both between local and international MNOs. VoiceSMS, while providing a significant revenue stream with quick ROI when marketed correctly, enables the operator and its customers to embrace new voice services at attractive price points.