Incredible mobile VAS – 75paise per voice sms

Following up on my previous post about Negative Value Innovation, here is a graphical description of someone trying to use the so-called Value Added Service of leaving a voice SMS when a called party is unavailable.

Imagine the possible scenarios when the VAS takes you by surprise and asks for you to dial the TEN-DIGIT-NUMBER,

Either …
I. hang up, then …
Step 1. Get hold of a pen and a piece of paper,
Step 2. Go through phone book,
Step 3. Note down the TEN-DIGIT-NUMBER, (remember you located the person by his/her name when you called the first time. Now you need the TEN-DIGIT-NUMBER!)
Step 4. Hit last call dialled and be ready to read and dial the number when asked.

I suspect if the called party has hung up while you’re busy with the steps above, you’ll never get to using the fruits of your labour and will be pissed. But if you’re lucky that s/he is still on a call, you’d have a chance to use this ‘friendly neighborhood’ VAS.

Unless you’re an octopus here’s my second visualisation . . .

II. Without hanging up … have your phone tucked between ear and shoulder while you dig into your pocket for a scrap of paper, hurriedly get hold of a pen … then figure where to keep these while you take your phone off your ear and try to access your phone book, scroll down to the contact and note the number, 3 digits at a time while repeating the above subsequence. I wouldn’t be surprised that the IVR hangs up while you’re busy multitasking.

Discalimer: If it was your sweetheart you were calling and you already knew her number by heart! (Pun Intended), you’d be able to use the service like a breeze.

What say to calling this a Value Diminished Nuisance (VDN) instead!!


4 Replies to “Incredible mobile VAS – 75paise per voice sms”

  1. Hi Sunil…interesting blog…your writing style is quite engaging….I have a couple of observations here I would like to share.
    You dont need to be on call while you are dialling a no for VSMS.
    Just disconnect and dial *and the mobile number…but yes you are right to the extent that you have to write down or remember the ten digit number to be able to do so. The rest is quite easy
    How it should ideally work is…
    you call a person and he is busy…you should get an option to leave a VSMS while staying on the call by being taken into an IVR
    that would be simple…


  2. Thanks Anju. Why are you giving your ideas away to these people for free? 😉 Does it surprise you that common sense eludes them with unfailing regularity?


  3. I agree that for all the USSD based services where mobile number is the identifier of the person’s attributes, challenge of extracting, learning and dialing the number is really cumbersome and hence has obstructed many innovations to have happened.

    Unfortunately, this remains as the only option for app developers as both the OEMs and operators control the design. Any thoughts otherwise?

    Eko on the same hand is a great example on how it uses similar format for banking services.


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