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Bubble Motion bets big on talking SMSs

The global leader in voice short message services is planning to further expand its operations in India.

india Updated: Sep 21, 2006 15:55 IST

Mobile SMSs are getting literally a new voice in India, with Bubble Motion—the global leader in voice short message services—planning to further expand its operations and employee strength in the country.

The company, which has already tied up with Bharti Airtel to provide its talking-SMS services, is also in talks with other leading mobile operators in the country.

The US-based firm, which recently secured $20 million from a leading venture capital for its expansion plans, said it planned to deploy the funds for setting up a corporate office and hiring employees for its research and development operations in New Delhi.

"Currently we have an operations team based in India but with the funding we just received we will now set up a corporate office and look at hiring research and development talent from the country," Co-Founder and President of Bubble Motion Sunil Coushik told PTI.

Bubble Motion, which develops voice applications for mobile operators, received $20 million funding from leading venture funding firm Sequoia Capital for its expansion plans.

"We are in discussions with other mobile operators in the region as we see India as a very big market for our service to grow exponentially," Coushik said.

Bubble Motion had initially set up a small system in Punjab in April this year on a pilot basis. A good response for the pilot project has made it confident for a countrywide launch in the near future, the company said.

"We did not conduct any market research as we knew from the start that India would be ideal for a service such as ours because of different languages spoken by the various ethnic groups in different states in India," Coushik added.

The response from the mini-launches in Indian cities has been overwhelming, he said.

After announcing a $10 million funding for Bubble Motion earlier in September, Sequoia Capital India Director Mohit Bhatnagar said, "Bubble Motion is being adopted globally by mobile operators and media companies."

"Their services and innovative products could become the most talked about service in the mobile sector this year," he added. The company has also secured additional 10 million dollar funding from Sequoia Capital US.

In India, Bubble Talk messages are currently being exchanged through Airtel, while Bubble Motion has tied up with CSL and New World Mobility in Hong Kong, m1 in Singapore, Digi in Malaysia and Indosat in Indonesia.

Airtel had launched its Bubble Talk service in Pune in August.

Airtel charges Rs 0.75 per minute for sending a bubble message from its customers in Pune. The customers can hear a bubble message free of cost for the first time and the message could be stored as well. However, a charge of Rs 0.75 per minute is charged for listening a message retrieved from the archive.

First Published: Sep 21, 2006 15:55 IST