Nimbuzz Unveils Nimbuzz Ping

Nimbuzz has announced the launch of Nimbuzz Ping, a push notification feature that allows feature phone users to appear online to their friends and receive a free SMS alert when someone in their Nimbuzz community wants to get in touch, even when Nimbuzz is closed. When one of their contacts wants to reach them, Nimbuzz Ping delivers a free SMS message to their home screens, prompting the user to log in to Nimbuzz and start a data session to communicate.

Nimbuzz Ping is targeted to the mass market of feature phones and optimized to work on low bandwidth networks. It also allows feature phone users to stay connected while preserving battery power. Nimbuzz says the solution empowers the more than 4bn feature phones in use today with smartphone functionality, and brings push-notifications to the 400m (Nokia) Symbian smartphones, which currently lack this feature.

Nimbuzz Ping is initially available to more than 88m subscribers across the Telkomsel Singtel Group network, with a dozen mobile operators throughout the Middle East and Asia Pacific adopting the service over the next few months.

“Smartphones may get all the attention, however, feature phones account for the large majority of worldwide phone sales, especially in developing markets where Nimbuzz is rapidly taking the lead,” says Nimbuzz CEO, Evert Jaap Lugt. “According to Gartner Research, the feature phone market sold 264m new ‘dumb phones’ in Q2 2010, compared to 62m smartphones sold during the same period. Ping allows operators to increase data sales and drive up loyalty with an innovative VAS offering that bring smartphone functionality to this large market of feature phone customers.”

Ping is free for users to enable inside Nimbuzz, and complements Nimbuzz’s “always-on” product nature. While operators provide the SMS alerts, Nimbuzz says that Ping will drive up ARPU with a new revenue stream from the additional data use that occurs when customers are prompted to log in to respond to invites, chat messages, or shared files. Pre-paid operators who primarily carry feature phones can also benefit and compete in the market with offers such as Nimbuzz Ping to deliver instant gratification to their customers.