How does that sound? Exciting? Cheap? Whichever way you take it; you can try it now if you are an MTS customer and have an Android phone, including all MTS branded Android phones. Customers belonging to MTS network (all circles) can send an SMS ‘FREE’ (without any quotes) to 55559 to get the link to download the Android app. Once the app is installed, when users call any number a pop up will appear asking if you want to make a ‘free’ or a ‘paid’ (using your existing balance) call. Once you select the ‘free’ option, a Video ad of approximately 30 sec duration will be played after which your call will be connected to the desired person. So needless to say, if you want to make an urgent call, ‘free’ is not such a good idea.
How many free calls?
If what we learnt is correct, for every Video ad a user watches, 60 seconds of talktime will be credited to your account. And every day, a user can make 5 such free calls.
Will this work?
Well, talktime incentives for watching ads are not entirely new. Airtel ran a similar program 4 to 5 years ago using an application developed by Nowpos, called Airtel Beep. Users then were credited Rs.100 talk time every month. It turns out it wasn’t much of a success since the program was withdrawn with in few months. Of course, times are very different now. Back then, the ads were simple banner ads that users needed to have on their home screen (for Nokia S60 phones). Now, it’s the Smart phone era, and seemingly banner ads are now replaced by Video ads. News is also that a few big brands have already lined up to show their ads.
Personally for me, this looks a bit intrusive and disturbing. The app would need to always run in the background for it to work (to ‘pop-up’ in time) but for college folks who maintain balances in paisas’, this may not be such a bad app to have.
Note: Only 60 seconds of talk time will be credited at once. So if you make a ‘free’ call and talk for more than 60 seconds, you will be charged according to your plan from the 61st second.
Another thing to note is that you may need a good data plan (preferably unlimited) or at least have wifi when making calls since Videos would need large amounts of data.