Mobile phones have revolutionised communications beyond recognition. Gone are the days when you waited months to get a landline, and then wondered if it would actually work when you eventually got your hands on it!Gone are the days when in order to make a call, you had to line up at an STD and hope that the few Rupees you had would suffice for that important call to a loved one over- seas.
Now with mobile phones and a choice of suppliers – India has seen an explosion in the mobile sector such that in 2011 there are now more than 500 million mobile phones users.
The area where calls have hitherto remained relatively expensive is of course when calling someone over- seas. More importantly, often these calls are dearer when made from your mobile phone. However, recently the concept of prepaid calling cards has been launched by several providers and this allows, via an access number and a pass code, the ability to make relatively cheaper calls overseas directly from your mobile phone.
So what is so new and clever about this innovation you may ask? Well, OE got in touch with the inventor and patent holder from London and asked some questions about the technology, as well as talking to the person who will lead on this opportunity in India.
Mr Mark Stewart, Owner of ‘Speakeasy Communications Ltd’ is based in the UK. We asked him:
OE: Mark you seem to have come up with an interesting innovation in mobile communication – how did this idea come to you?
MS: Well the thought of using a Calling Card to make international calls from a Mobile was at best clumsy, but also inconvenient. Having to dial an access number, scratch off a PIN number and then key the actual phone number you wished to dial meant that you had to remember and dial in some cases as many as 40 digits!
It occurred to me if one could auto- mate this manual task as much as possible – then it would become a great aid to all users. Borne was the idea of our ‘Slim SIM’ which now contains a piece of special software that determines the numbers being dialed by the user. As soon as an international number is dialed, it automatically diverts the call to our low cost network (prepaid) and there you have it – a successful low cost international call directly from your mobile.
OE: How many countries are already using this technology?
MS: Te c h n i c a l l y it should work in all countries. At present we are already active in 12 countries including the UK, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland, and Austria. In addition we are testing and at a prelaunch stage in Cyprus, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and China.
Our Speakeasy Mobile Chip is compliant with the international SIM standard ISO 7816 so it will work with any 2.5G or 3G networks, and indeed any GSM or 3G mobile hand- sets including all types of Smart phones.
OE: What are the key benefits to the user?
MS: Our customers keep their existing Mobile number and provider – Yes that is right, it means you do not need to change anything. You just dial the number in the normal way or from the ‘Contacts’ stored on your Mobile. All international calls are carried by the Speakeasy network at lower cost. Users also have access to their online account via our dedicated website where they can check the cur- rent call rates, their usage and also ‘Top Up’ as and when necessary. We have also ensured that customers can Top Up by using scratch cards if that is their preference.
OE: Do you find that some mobile operators don’t quite like what you are doing?
MS: We are offering a clever and robust technology that is totally legal and technically works like a calling card, but acts like a normal call. It automates the process of dialling an access number followed by the pass code which traditionally has been a source of many complaints. Generally users end up having to dial some 30 + numbers in order to make an international call – in our system, they just dial their international number as normal, and our ‘Slim SIM’ takes over and does all the hard work.
We are therefore only offering an alternative to that which is already available in the market, but much easier to use and manage. If the mobile operators have no issues with existing methods, surely they can’t object to, or feel aggrieved about a technology that makes the life of a user a little bit more comfortable.
OE: So you now wish to introduce this technology to India?
MS: Yes certainly. Kapil Dudakia represents Speakeasy in India. He is a person with many talents in bringing projects and innovations to market with like minded partners. We look for- ward to realizing the potential of this opportunity in India over the coming months and years.
What is ‘Speakeasy Mobile’?
Speakeasy Mobile is the revolutionary new Mobile service that empowers its customers to use their Mobile the way they want to so making massive savings without compromising quality or complicating use.
No matter which Mobile phone operator Speakeasy Mobile customers choose to use, Speakeasy Mobile is always a complimentary service.
What is the Speakeasy Mobile technology?
Speakeasy Mobile is a service based on the revolutionary and Patented Speakeasy Mobile SIM Device. Essentially the Speakeasy Mobile SIM device is a 128Kb memory chip that can store 64 numbers, the user mobile number, a dial plan and all the information necessary to inter- act with the local Mobile network and the phone is use.
We were able to design the Speakeasy Mobile SIM Device to be wafer thin and so it can be placed on top of your existing SIM to fit snuggly back into the phone.
We then took the opportunity to chat to Kapil Dudakia, who is well known not only to OE but also many in the NRI/PIO network:
OE: Kapil you are of course well known in many circles both in the UK as well as in India. What was it that first attracted you to this company ‘Speakeasy Communications Ltd’ and the technology they are promoting?
KD: When I first met Mark some months back and he demonstrated the ‘Slim SIM’ Speak Easy technology and how it works in practice. I have to say to you, I was utterly taken aback. My exact words were, ‘Mark, this is a clever and an elegant solution.’ My background is that I graduated in Electronic and Electrical Engineering and as such, when I analysed the solution being offered – it was simple, clean, efficient, effective and above all – it worked. What an elegant solution.
OE: OK, so it’s clear you liked the product. But how did you get involved with the company?
KD: Mark informed me of the countries that had already taken up the offer of using this technology. I noticed that India was not on that list. Let’s face it – India is a serious market where increasingly many more people will want to make international calls either for business, or to their family and friends overseas. The ability to make a relatively low cost international call directly from your mobile, and to do so easily I felt was a perfect solution for India.
OE: Can you just take me through the process of how it works from the users’ perspective?
OK – at present you have several options.
Option 1:Call from an ISD (either private or public) and pay the going rate. This does however mean that either you have your own ISD line, or you have to go to a public booth to make that call.
Option 2:Purchase a prepaid calling card. What you then have to do is first dial an access number (can be around 10 digits long), then you have to type in your account details (typically 12 digits long) followed by the actual international number you wish to dial (generally around 14 digits). Tedious comes to mind.
Option 3:The ‘Speakeasy’ method. Just dial your international number and allow the system to do the rest. Elegant solution. What can I say; I would choose option 3 every time.
OE: What are your plans for India?
KD: Shortly I will be embarking on a quest to find a suitable in India that has the capacity and reach to take on board the exclusive rights to the technology for the whole country. Of course this means they need to be able to purchase the one off licence fee and enter into an agreement to purchase and sell a certain minimum number of Speakeasy SIMs on a monthly/yearly basis.
Companies for example who have already got access to a great distribution network which they can tap into with little effort. A company that knows how to market such products and one that will also give a great service to their clients. I will be looking for a very proactive partner who really wants to secure this opportunity, and are willing to go that extra mile in get- ting it. As they say, my door is open and therefore if any one of your esteemed readers feels they are in this category – contact me.
Mobile communications is moving at a rapid pace in India. It has revolutionized the very concept of communications. In fact for the vast majority it has allowed them to literally bypass the Internet since they have created their own social networks using SMS using their cells. We have no doubt that the next few years will bring forth a combination of technologies that will greatly enhance user experience, as well as functionality to aid the individual and the business community.
Clever and innovative products continue to be invented by experts, and no doubt some of these will greatly enhance our daily experience. At OE we look forward to the continued development of various technologies since they have the power and capacity to unleash the genius that is so manifest in our nation.
– Kapil Dudakia