SAN FRANCISCO and BANGALORE, India, Dec. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- SliQBits (www.sliqbits.com) today announced that it is making SliQ, its popular voice and video call service, totally free and unlimited for smartphone users in India. SliQ users will have INR 10 credited to their mobile phone account after their first SliQ call. This covers approximately 42 three-minute voice, or 8 three-minute video calls or a combination. After these calls are completed, the user's account is "reloaded" with another INR 10, for as long as SliQ is in use.
"Enabling consistent quality video calling at speeds as low as 45kbps on 2G networks is an extraordinary achievement," said CEO Aloka Mitra. Similarly, voice calling works at rates as low as 20kbps. Aloka and her team are known globally for their technology expertise in ultra low-speed video streaming. The team has delivered solutions to Cisco, AT&T, Motorola/Google, TiVo, DirecTV, Arris, Sony and Micromax, based on its unique low bit rate algorithms.
The app works on 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. Included in the app is an Infotainment tab that allows users to get current national news, entertainment, music and sports highlights. SliQ, currently in English, Hindi and Telugu, will soon be available in all of India's major languages. Paul Friedman, EVP, said, "It has taken an Indian startup to enable the world's unconnected billions to connect with one another for free. There has been so much talk by the world technology leaders about this but we have done it!"
The service is supported by revenues from advertisements from services such as AdMob (by Google) and InMobi. The ads comprise of jingles at the start of each call (instead of rings), banner ads at the bottom of the screen, and interstitial ads at the end of each call. As call volumes increase, ad revenues are expected to be substantial.
Many of India's rural and small town populations will now be able to make more voice and especially video calls, and communicate with friends, family, doctors, police, teachers and customers much more easily. This free service will eventually be offered to populations of other emerging countries through partnerships.
SliQBits has an impressive Board of Directors including Vijay Amritraj (Indian Tennis legend), Sanjay Kapoor (former CEO of Airtel) and Bruce Ames (top ten molecular biologist). Its investors include Paul Bulcke, CEO Nestle and Banque Piguet, a Swiss Private Equity Bank.
Other apps such as Skype, Facetime and Viber fail to make an impact in emerging markets due to a lack of technology teams locally in managing low bit rate video communications. Whatsapp is a complicated app for emerging country consumers to install and then try to use the voice calling feature. Moreover, Whatsapp does not have a video engine. SliQ is currently on Google Play store and will be on Apple App store by end of December, 2015.