Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Download Mobikwik’s Mobile Recharge API

Now, you can download Mobile Recharge API from the API tab above.

There are two documents : API.doc which gives details of the the http based API and mapping.xls which maps the operators and circles to specific ID’s.

This is the first time in India that mobile recharge API is available for free. And openly.

This API can be used in personal as well as commercial aspects. However, the terms and conditions and privacy policy of mobikwik still apply.

Use Cases:

The API can be used to develop applications for social networks like facebook and twitter or to create your own mobile recharge site or contests where you can sponsor free talk time.


November 2009

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Mobile banking : an urban myth ?

Banks have come a long way from the days of smiling staff to ATM’s to internet and now on to the mobile. The furious mobile subscriber growth in last few years in India has meant that finally an electronic device other than television remote has found its way into the hands of Indians.  I mean hundreds of millions of Indians.

India also has one of the lowest penetration of bank accounts. I would guess less than 100 million individuals in India have bank accounts. Access to credit can be a big enabler for getting out of poverty as the experience of micro-finance  has shown in Bangladesh ( Mohammad Yunus and Grameen bank) and now in India. However, banking is not only about credit. It can dramatically increase the efficiency of government projects in rural areas . For example, NREGA can be much more successful if the workers have bank accounts. The government can transfer the money directly to their account with no middlemen keeping their cut.

So, marrying the two should mean that hundreds of millions of people can get access to banks, right? Wrong!

Here’s why.

1) Most of the phones where mobile banking can really be useful are owned by people who already have alternative channels to access banking like internet/ATM/bank branch. By all means , these alternative channels score much higher on user experience today.

2) Most of the people who *really* need mobile banking do not have phones which are capable enough. Also, we are talking about people who can barely read English. And can barely learn to open and read an SMS.  And they want to change their mobile phone and prepaid SIM every time there’s a new deal in the market. ( India may soon have the biggest mobile resale market).

*Result* : All mobile payment solutions ( paymate/mchek/banks) in India are only serving folks who already have bank accounts. There are only 25 million mobiles registered for any form of mobile banking. And only 7% ( about 1.5 million) are active users. No wonder, I have not heard anyone in my circle ever hear checking their bank statements on the mobile.

October 2009

Saturday, 24 October 2009

@Wharton Interview,Rajesh Jain talks about neutral app stores

Rajesh Jain is a proven entreprenuer who is bullish today on the idea of operator independent mobile application/services store in India.  He is one of the very few mobile/telecom guys who thinks that an operator independent mobile services ecosystem is actually possible.  Almost every VC/investor we have met gives us the usual rants about ” only operators can help you achieve volumes” and so on.

We at mobikwik are  pursuing exactly this kind of vision and it is heartening to get validated by someone who has experienced success in Indian telecom.

I quote from his interview :

“Apple has shown what’s possible in the U.S. with a model which is basically independent – the App Store model – which is independent of the mobile operator. That is the opportunity which exists today to create what I call a digital-services operator, where there are four elements one needs to put together in the mobile space: alternate payments of collecting money independent of the operator, which Apple is doing in the U.S. through credit cards built up largely first through the iTunes music they sell. The second is having a large reach, so you can reach tens of millions of people cost-effectively so you can make them aware of the services. The third is an open publishing platform and marketplace, so third-party providers, content providers, service providers can comment. And finally, an initial set of compelling services, which get people to want to go create the account.

If these four elements can be put together there is a great opportunity to transform the mobile space and break the stranglehold that mobile operators have. What’s happening today is that, because of their focus primarily on voice and in India mainly launches in rural areas, the top of the pyramid – which is about 100 million people, 25% of the base – want new services but are not able to get to the operators.”

Read more from an interview he gave to Wharton recently about Indian mobile market.

If you have used mobikwik you would have noticed that we are already covering point 1 ( alternate payment through mobikwik balance) and point 4 ( prepaid mobile services). We are on our way to create an open publishing platform and also the big daddy of all : LARGE REACH :)

Also,  his Interop presentation talks about the exact same thing in numbers.

September 2009

Monday, 28 September 2009

MobiKwik Founder, Bipin Singh is Entrepreneur of the week @YourStory.in!

Excerpt from YourStory.in feature on MobiKwik CEO Bipin -

The multi-faceted mobile is an integral part of human life with its many uses. From facilitating communication to providing entertainment and even becoming a useful work tool, the mobile does it all. The mobile in turn attains and derives its talents from those who can envision and extend its boundaries.

Bipin Preet Singh is among those who plan to make the mobile more than what it is today. His company “One Mobikwik Systems” was born out of the entrepreneurial fire that he mustered.

The Young Entrepreneur told us about his journey so far and what his efforts mean to mobile technology saying “Mobikwik stands for the kwikest way to mobile freedom. It was founded with the vision to create an online store where all the needs of mobile owners can be satisfied. These include three major verticals: Voice, Data and Applications. We believe these would be the three pillars around which customer touch points would evolve in next 4-5 years. Internet is the best platform for creating these touch points.”

“We have started with voice services (prepaid recharge for all locations for all operators across India) and will soon be launching data services (GPRS/3G top-ups) and plug n play mobile applications. We intend to provide our customers freedom from most of the hassles they face today when dealing with mobile operators or their services.”

Their approach to delivering what the public wants is among the plus points which will make them succeed. Bipin explains “We have just launched a month back and are already getting very good traction. We currently offer a lot of intuitive services around mobile recharge. For instance, a majority does not have access to internet. Therefore, we introduced SMS recharge based on your available mobikwik balance. Similarly, kwikplan allows you to do automatic recharging every month based on your budget. You can also find the best prepaid plan as a function of your needs anywhere in India.”

“We realized that most mobile services today work in ‘push’ model i.e. the operator pushes down the services to customers and then customer selects what he wants. Customer has no place to go actively look for what she might want. It means limited choice and lower quality services. Mobikwik attempts to start a new ‘pull’ model in Indian telecom space. Whether you want mobile recharge, check out a new plan or a cool offer, or find premium apps for your handset, you can do it all at www.mobikwik.com. We make money anytime the customer purchases anything from our online/mobile store. All our content is sourced from partners (mobile carriers, app developers and so on).”

Click HERE to read the full article!