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Uganda Telecom launches user-friendly Voice SMS service on Kirusa platform

Uganda Telecom, Uganda's leading telecommunications provider, has launched a user friendly Voice SMS service nationwide. With this launch, all prepaid and postpaid subscribers of Uganda Telecom can send Voice SMS to any mobile subscriber in Uganda for a fixed price of approximately US$0.08.

The process to send Voice SMS is very simple, and both on-net and off-net subscribers (who are not on the Uganda Telecom network) can listen and reply to the Voice SMS messages sent by a Uganda Telecom subscriber. This enhanced Voice SMS solution has been made available by Kirusa, a vendor of Voice SMS and developer of mobile value-added services.

Uganda Telecom subscribers can now communicate faster, more easily and with emotion, without needing to type in text messages, fixing typos etc. To compose a Voice SMS, a Uganda Telecom subscriber just presses *88 followed by the number of the person to whom he/she wishes to send the message, speaks for 30 seconds and disconnects. The recipient is alerted with a normal SMS beep, gets a text SMS notification and can retrieve the Voice SMS by clicking on a DirectListen link embedded in notification. A subscriber has the option to hear new and old Voice SMS, and can reply and forward messages. An added advantage here is that the recipients who are not on Uganda Telecom's network can also listen and reply to the Voice SMS sent to them.

To make the service available to its subscribers, Uganda telecom has incorporated Kirusa Voice SMS service integrated with the NMS Vision Server media platform into its mobile network. Uganda Telecom subscribers will be charged approximately US$0.08 to send a Voice SMS; listening to a Voice SMS for the first time is free of charge. For listening to old messages Uganda Telecom subscribers will be charged approximately US$0.03 per message. For replying to a Voice SMS, a Uganda Telecom subscriber pays a nominal charge of US$0.08.

Hans Paulsen, Chief Commercial Officer of Uganda Telecom said, "With this launch, we aim to introduce the world's best Voice SMS offering to our subscribers. I am confident that Ugandans will find this mode of communication much simpler to use. Compared to standard text SMS, Voice SMS is a more exciting way to deliver short messages as it eliminates the arduous typing and presents convenience of sending out a message to a friend or loved one. The launch of Voice SMS is part of our strategy to introduce user friendly, reliable and cost effective communication medium to Ugandans...We were impressed with the ease that Kirusa demonstrated during Voice SMS implementation in our network."

Inderpal Singh Mumick, CEO of Kirusa said, "We are pleased to have teamed with Uganda Telecom to bring the Voice SMS service to market, the first in East Africa...Voice SMS is more than just a value added service. It has been adopted by millions of mobile users in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and has evolved into a core messaging product for carriers across the globe, delivering increasingly robust ARPUs. With added applications complementing Kirusa Voice SMS, there is a huge marketing and advertising potential for Voice SMS in the African market."

* Uganda Telecom is Uganda's provides voice and data communication solutions that include fixed telephony, mobile telephony, ISP and data communications, having launched the Next Generation Network that delivers all voice, data and even video services over one network over IP. Uganda Telecom has the largest fixed line network and is also the largest ISP in the country. It has the only 3G network in Uganda and offers video telephony, high speed internet, video and audio streaming, live television, MMS and  BlackBerry services.

** Kirusa's solutions include KV.SMS, a Voice SMS solution selected by more than 25 carriers around the world. Kirusa Voice SMS enables mobile subscribers to send messages by speaking. A user dials * followed by the recipient's number and speaks a short message. The recipient gets an SMS notification from the sender and can dial a number in the notification to directly access the spoken message. Kirusa states that KV.SMS can be deployed in a matter of weeks, and that rapid user adoption has led to explosive revenue growth for Kirusa's customers. Kirusa has been recognised as one of top 100 technology companies by Silicon India for years 2007 and 2008, and one of the top 25 emerging technology companies by Smart Techie magazine. Headquartered in New Jersey, Kirusa has sales offices in three continents, with R&D facilities in New Delhi and Bangalore. 

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