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Hike launches Total, a product allows to access internet without data

Hike launches Total, a product allows to access internet without data

WhatsApp rival Hike of India is introducing a version of Android that lets users message, make payments and access information without an active data connection, seeking to offer services to people who aren't yet able to access the Internet.

The aim is also to pave the way for them to "get on data" by providing packs as low as ₹1.

Hike has partnered Airtel, Aircel, and BSNL - which cover 42 per cent of the Indian telecom market combined - to implement the USSD adaption. "For the next billion true mobile first users, coming online can be still be quite complicated and intimidating".

On the launch Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder and CEO, Hike said, "Our goal is to bring India online and online means data so we've also made it extremely simple to buy data packs right contextually inside the OS itself".

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The system can be signed in through a single login using the phone number for all the services that are available for free on Total. But, what is the reason of launching such a product and why not on existing Hike platform? "This is really powerful". To make it easy for people to use Total, Hike has preloaded the service onto low-priced phones by Intex and Karbonn, so it loads up as soon as you finish setting up your Android device for the first time. Intex and Karbonn are the first smartphone partners, supporting "Total, built by Hike" on four models to start.

Hike has partnered with major carriers like Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, and BSNL to make low-priced data packs available on Total, with prices starting at Re 1 for 20 MB at 4G speeds. And, Karbonn device is A40 Indian. The smartphone is scheduled to hit the shelves starting 1st March 2018 and will be available under a price tag of Rs 2000. Users can spend this money on any of the Total services when they buy one of the devices supporting Total. It'll be interesting to see how this helps Hike grow beyond its current user base (which seems to have stagnated since January 2016), and if it can truly help more people in India get online more easily.

By partnering with a couple of local handset makers, Hike has embedded UTP into the Android platform to allow for a user experience across the aforementioned services that feels like any modern app that uses data, while just relying on the USSD protocol that doesn't cost users anything. So whether it's simply chatting with friends or making digital payments, a whole new set of people will be able to experience these services, the company added.


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