VAS TOP 10: #4 Spice Digital : Enriching Digital Life

Spice Digital forayed into mobile value added services market in 2000 to tap the opportunities in the digital world. It was referred to as Cellebrum Technologies until it opted for a re-branding in 2007. Spice Digital is a subsidiary of Spice Televentures, which is merged into Spice Group’s listed firm Spice Mobility also known as Spice Mobiles in 2010. After the merger, Spice Televenture’s business interests in value added services (Spice Digital), retail (Spice Retail), and applications (Spice Labs) became the subsidiaries of Spice Mobile. And Spice Mobility/Mobile is a subsidiary of Spice Global. It opted for merger in order to focus on mobile internet. The company has been catering to the needs of over 50 mn plus subscribers every day across India, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Kenya, Indonesia, Jordan, Nepal, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore.

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Services Highlights

Spice Digital primarily offers product innovation and management, mobile marketing and social networking, and community services. The company basically provides products and services on unstructured supplementary service data (USSD), interactive voice response (IVR), wireless application protocol (WAP), general packet radio service (GPRS), and short message service (SMS) platforms, value added services such as mobile radio, caller ring back tones, background music, select caller list, entertainment, gaming, social networking, and devotional portals.

Re-branding in 2007 helped the company to create new products. It established 4 R&D centers across the country. It offers innovative solutions for telecom operators, enterprises, and government using mobile connectivity media-voice, SMS, USSD, WAP, and 3G. In November 2011, it introduced educational and entertainment BlackBerry applications for kids aged between 1 to 10 years. These apps help kids to learn alphabet, numbers, and spellings while on-the-go.

It has exclusive tie-ups with Hungama and PPL for music streaming services. It has acquired 2 leading international VAS players-MMS (Indonesia) and Beoworld (Malaysia). In August 2011, the company received $20 mn investment from MediaTek (Taiwan). This enabled it to offer more advanced and innovative services and enrich the digital mobile life for the future and to leverage mobile internet space.

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Spice Digital won the Mobile Messaging Award 2011 for its innovative value added service SMS ‘139 Railway Inquiry’, the national inquiry for Indian Railways in the ‘social use’ category. The unique service developed by Spice Digital in partnership with Indian Railways (IRCTC) and Bharat BPO offers railway travelers (25 mn/day) the convenience to know the status of his/her railways ticket bookings along with seat availability and train fare from the comfort of his or her mobile phone by just sending an SMS.

Spice Digital is competing with Paytm and Freecharge with the launch of Spice Deck in July 2012, an online recharge service for mobile phone and DTH. The online recharge segment has been witnessing some action of late. In July 2012, it made a few changes in its leadership and business at large. Siddhartha Jain is now the CEO of Spice Labs and he is responsible for the development of consumer applications at the company. Dr Abhinav Mathur is the chief of strategy and technology of Si2i Mobility. Spice Labs will focus on the advertising supported part of the business. Pankaj Gupta, COO at Spice Digital, will be handling Spice Gang, Spice Digital’s MRE applications store with MediaTek and video alert services.

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