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India's first homegrown messaging app Hike has announced its strategic partnership with Bharti Airtel ("Airtel") to embed Total, built by Hike on mobile devices under Airtel's 'Mera Pehla Smartphone' initiative.
Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder, and CEO, Hike, said "With 'Total' on 'Mera Pehla Smartphones', first-time users will find it easy understand and navigate a smartphone. Using data is also simplified and 'Total' users can get online with special data packs starting as low as Re 1/-. This is really powerful. We are very clear that to get a billion people online, we need to make the whole process of coming online a lot simpler, less intimidating as well as cost-effective and this partnership with Airtel is likely to do that"
Starting March 2018, select smartphones under the 'Mera Pehla Smartphone' will be shipped with Total as a pre-installed feature," companies said a joint release by the two companies.
Nikhil Gilani, Head, Devices & E-commerce, Bharti Airtel said, "Airtel's 'Mera Pehla Smartphone' has been a pathbreaking initiative towards removing barriers to smartphone adoption in India and has received the very positive response from customers. We share Hike's vision of helping every Indian own a smartphone and benefit from the digital super-highway. We look forward to collaborating with all our partners under this initiative to give every Indian access to a smartphone, bring them online and be a part of Digital India."
Total by Hike offers a single login via the Phone Number for all of the Total services such as Messaging, News, Horoscope, Recharge, Wallet, Cricket Scores and Rail information. It also allows users to use these services without internet connectivity. Lastly, Total users can purchase Sachet Data packs which start as low as Re 1.
Airtel's 'Mera Pehla Smartphone', which was launched in October 2017, is an initiative is aimed at enabling every Indian to buy a 4G smartphone. Airtel has partnered with multiple mobile handset manufacturers to create an 'open ecosystem' of affordable 4G smartphones and bring them to market at budget-friendly prices.
According to published reports, by 2020, over 700 million people are expected to be on smartphones with many of them being first time users. This can be quite a complicated and intimidating experience for them. With 'Total', users bypass the 15-20 step process to come online and only go through a few steps to enjoy their smartphones with its multitude services.