To help businesses communicate better with their customers globally including in India, WhatsApp on Thursday launched “WhatsApp Business” – a free-to-download Android app for small businesses. The new app will make it easier for companies to connect with customers, and more convenient for its 1.3 billion users to chat with businesses that matter to them.
“People all around the world use WhatsApp to connect with small businesses they care about from online clothing companies in India to auto parts stores in Brazil,” the Facebook-owned app said in a statement. Currently, “WhatsApp Business” is free to download on Google Play in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US. The app will roll out for other countries, and in India, in the coming weeks.
“WhatsApp Business will make it easier for people to connect with them, and vice versa, in a fast and simple way,” the company said. The app will help customers with useful information such as a business description, email or store addresses and website. It will also save time with smart messaging tools – quick replies that provide fast answers to frequently asked questions, greeting messages that introduce customers to your business, and away messages that let them know you’re busy.
“People will know that they’re talking to a business because you will be listed as a Business Account. Over time, some businesses will have Confirmed Accounts once it’s been confirmed that the account phone number matches the business phone number,” WhatsApp said. People can continue using WhatsApp as usual as there’s no need to download anything new.
“People will continue to have full control over the messages they receive, with the ability to block any number, including businesses, as well as report spam,” the company added. For over 80 per cent of small businesses in India and Brazil, WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers and grow their business. In India, 84 per cent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them communicate with customers, andA80 per cent of SMBs think that WhatsApp helps them grow their business.
Glassics is a fashion eyewear company that tested WhatsApp Business first-hand to message customers quickly and build personal relationships with them. “WhatsApp Business helped us develop stronger relationships with our customers. We were able to respond faster to customers with features like away messages and quick replies, and offer a better overall experience,” said its co-founder Devesh Nichani.
Soon you may have 13-digit mobile number
New Delhi: The Department of Telecom (DoT) had reportedly issued a directive to all the telecom operators in India, asking them to start issuing 13-digit mobile numbers to customers. The news was confirmed by a senior BSNL official who told CNN-News 18 that the directive from DoT had come on January 8, 2018, post which the company has started working on it. The decision has been taken to provide better security features to users.
Under this latest development, the existing mobile users’ numbers will be ported to 13-digits starting from October 1, 2018. The last date to complete the process would be December 31, 2018. “It is decided that 13-digit M2M (Machine-to-machine) numbering plan will be implemented from July 1, 2018. From this date onwards, all new M2M mobile connections will be allocated 13-digit numbers only… Migration of existing 10-digit M2M numbers will start latest by 1 October 2018 and shall be completed by 31 December 2018,” the official was quoted saying in the report.
If the decision is implemented, India will become the country with the longest mobile numbers, with China the only country at scale with 11 digit mobile numbers, not counting the area code. Apart from this, only French ‘regions’ of Gaudeloupe, Martinique and Reunion have longer numbers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Communication in a letter written to TRAI has reportedly said that ’13-digit numbering scheme has been approved for SIM-based M2M devices’. A M2M sim is actually the technology which enables devices and sensors or things to communicate with each other and with other Internet-enabled devices and systems. These sims can be used in any mobile phone.
The problem, however, with a 13-digit number is that it would be virtually impossible for a person to remember it, possibly leading to massive dislocations across business processes like banks where provisioning has been made to capture only 10 digit mobile numbers.
Moreover, there are about a billion active mobile users in India and given that they had recently completed the process of linking their Aadhaar card, this might lead to some confusion and chaos.
Reliance JioPhone will get its own Facebook app tomorrow
Facebook will be available on Reliance JioPhone from tomorrow through app store available on the handset, a company statement said today.
“JioPhone is the world’s most affordable smartphone built with transformational technology especially for Indians to migrate from a feature phone to smartphone. As promised, JioPhone will be home to the world’s leading applications, starting with Facebook,” Jio Director Akash Ambani said in the statement.
The new version of the Facebook app is built specially for Jio KaiOS, a web-based operating system designed for JioPhone.
This will open up Facebook for potential 50 crore feature phone users in India.
The new Facebook app for JioPhone will support push notifications, video, and links to external content.
“We are excited about our partnership with Jio and the opportunity to provide the best possible Facebook experience for millions of people using JioPhone,” Facebook Vice President of Mobile Partnerships Francisco Varela said.
The app is also optimised to accommodate the cursor function on JioPhone.
Republic Day offer| Jio hikes per day data limit by 500 MB on popular plans
Reliance Jio has announced a new recharge offer as part of the ‘Republic Day 2018’ for its customers, under which its existing 1GB and 1.5GB daily data packs have been upgraded to offer 1.5GB and 2GB daily data respectively, without any change in the price-point. The validity for the plans also remain the same as Jio Happy New Year 2018 offer.
Reliance Jio’s recharge offers have been unveiled in response to Airtel’s prepaid plans, which were recently revamped to give users 1.4GB data per day, instead of 1GB daily previously. Reliance Jio’s Republic Day 2018 plans will go live starting January 26. Reliance Jio’s cheapest prepaid plan comes at Rs 98 and it offers a total of 2GB data for 28 days. The plan originally offers 2.1GB data for 14 days. Notably, all Jio users get free unlimited voice calls, SMS and access to Jio’s suite of apps.
Under Jio’s Republic Day 2018 offer, the Rs 149 plan will give users 1.5GB daily data for 28 days, which means 42GB in total. The plan currently offers 28GB data in total for a period of 28 days with 1GB as the daily FUP. Additionally, Jio’s Rs 349 plan will now provide a total of 105GB data at 1.5GB per day, instead of 70GB earlier (1GB per day). Validity is 70 days.
Reliance Jio’s Rs 399 and Rs 449 plans will now offer a total of 126GB and 136GB data respectively, at 1.5GB per day. The validity for Rs 399 plan is 84 days, while that for Rs 449 plan is 91 days. Jio’s Rs 399 plan currently gives users 84GB total data at 1GB per day, while Rs 449 offers 91GB data in all.
Coming to Reliance Jio’s 2GB daily data packs, the Rs 198 and Rs 398 prepaid packs have been revamped to offer a total of 56GB amd 140GB data respectively. Validity is 28 days and 70 days respectively. Under Jio’s Happy New Year offer, the Rs 198 plan currently gives users a total of 42GB data at 1.5GB per day, for 28 days. Meanwhile, the Rs 398 recharge offer gives users 105GB data (1.5GB daily) for 70 days
Reliance Jio users who recharge with Rs 448 will get a total of 168GB data, compared to 126GB currently. The validity is 84 days. Under the new plan, users get 2GB daily data, instead of 1.5GB per day. Finally, Jio’s 498 pack offers 182GB data at 2GB per day, for 91 days. The existing plan offers 136GB data in all with daily FUP (Fair Usage Policy) of 1.5GB per day. Validity is 91 days.
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