Value for money

Startup saga

Value for money

Ever wondered how and where the balance on your mobile phone disappears within just a few days of recharging? Even while you talk for just a minute or two and keep the mobile data off when not in use,  you mostly end up having insufficient balance on your phone.

Stepping in as a saviour, to help prepaid mobile users keep a track on their prepaid pack balances and data usage, is ‘Mubble’, an Android application. Launched in 2015 by Ashwin Ramaswamy, Pranav Jha and Raghvendra Varma, the app seems to have become  a must-have now.

“Somewhere back in 2014, my co-founders and I were having a discussion on what is the common thread that binds everyone together in India.  Apart from cricket and Bollywood, we came to a common conclusion that a prepaid mobile phone connection is something that is used by a large number of people across the country.

This discussion led us to talk to many prepaid users and find out how they deal with problems like going low on balance within a few days of recharging, awareness about which plans to use and other things. We wanted to solve this issue by enabling consumers to track and automatically update their prepaid pack balances, monitor and save a history of their pack deductions and mobile data usage, get alarms on pack expiry, know about call rate changes and receive recommendations on best packs,” explains Ashwin.

He highlights that while there are apps like ‘FreeCharge’ and ‘Paytm’ which have already solved the issue of people stepping out to pay their mobile bills, the idea of this venture was heading to another level altogether.

“Mobile data is used even if a person is not using their phone and it’s locked. Many don’t realise but the data usage gets exhausted even in this way.  And for a prepaid user, this can be a huge issue. Another idea behind launching the app in the market was to break the notion that prepaid connections are only for blue-collar people. It is not really an issue pertaining to the income category one belongs to, it has more to do with the user’s mindset to control his usage,” says Ashwin.

‘Mubble’ helps by notifying one about pack expiry and call rate changes, giving recommendations on best packs to recharge with and enabling them to recharge through the app. It allows users to have complete control of their SIMs. The team is presently operational only in India and is focussing on serving the needs of the Indian user. However, they have enquiries pouring in from various countries like Brazil, Nigeria and Indonesia, informs Ashwin.

So what are the challenges that the team has faced over the past one year of its launch? “The long-term challenge is hiring the right kind of people to build an organisation. Another challenge which is more recent is the economic shift which has made the pricing very irrational,” says Ashwin.

As a team, ‘Mubble’ is planning on getting a larger user base and working more closely with its users. “We would like to understand our consumers’ needs and implement those changes in the venture in the near future,” he states.

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