IT and religion: Recite mantras through mobiles

CIOL Bureau
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Technology has made breakthroughs in all aspects of our lives, even religion. In other words, technology has aligned with religion to offer better services to devotees to offer prayer and donations from far away lands.


With the rise in web-enabled handset sales, polyphonic and true tones are raking in more revenues for the operators.

According to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, the mobile value-added services in India stood at Rs 2,850 crore in 2006 and is estimated to grow to Rs 4,560 crore by the end of 2007.

“The VAS industry in India is expected to grow at 60 percent compared to the figures in 2006,” the report said.


Considering the growing number of subscriber base and low tariff rates, the profits of the telecom companies are declining on the voice revenues.

However, the operators are currently eyeing the VAS space, which holds huge potentials for them. According to industry estimates the operators get close to 60 per cent of the total revenues from VAS.

Looking at the VAS market in India, operators are finding out innovating ways to meet the demand of the subscribers. Launching religious wallpapers, ringtones, themes, religious SMSes, the operators are exploring a market, which was never targeted earlier.


To facilitate downloads, each operator has launched the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) enabled services for both pre-paid and post-paid customers.

In 2006, the IAMAI report said, peer-to-peer (P2P) SMS contributed 40 per cent while ring tone downloads made a significant contribution at 35 per cent. However, the GPRS services revenue brings close to 10 per cent of the total VAS revenues for telecom operators.

Bringing innovation to the fingertips, operators are introducing products in multi-religions. “We introduce new services depending upon the festive season. As a matter of fact we introduce spiritual content during special religious festivals. You can participate in lighting diyas (lamps) and offering garlands to deity with the press of a button on your mobile,” an executive at a Tata Indicom store said.


There are also offerings like Nazara, the timer for chanting mantras.

Operators also target the spiritual content depending upon the location and the set of customers. For the customers in Punjab, the operators have launched shabads (groups of hymns that are commonly used for reciting Kirtan).

A couple of operators are working on developing software through which people from the Muslim community would be able to track the prayer direction towards Mecca.

Qatar Telecom has come up with another innovative offering for its customers in Doha. The operator has started offering prayer alerts for the subscribers during the celebration of Ramadan this year.