Hike has been tussling with various approaches to one-up its competitors and reestablish its shriveling position in India for the last few quarters. The company has brought a multitude of features to its messaging platform in the past year including the ability to transfer payments, stories and more. But their biggest push towards bringing more users onboard was introduced today with the launch of Hike Total. Therefore, here’s a 10-point cheat sheet to understanding what it is and how it will help the company’s numbers escalate.
1. What is Hike Total?
Total is a proprietary technology built by Hike which allows users to access various essential services like the news, instant messaging, digital payments without an internet connection. Since it’s a dedicated platform which requires a “refined version of Android”, you can not install it on every phone through the Play Store.
2. Why Hike Total?
Hike Total is designed to deliver services to the underdeveloped regions of India where internet is still not widely available. Another critical hurdle the company wants to overcome with Total is to ease a novice user into the process of becoming comfortable with a smartphone. It generally requires a series of investments and includes a ton of steps such as buying a smartphone, choosing which data pack to enroll in, setting it up with an email account, you get the idea.
Hike Total simplifies the majority of these layers. For starters, its suite of apps comes preloaded on phones. In addition to that, it only asks for your phone number. Once you’re past the initialization process, you’re immediately online without the need for an active mobile data. If further down the road, you do come across some media which mandates an internet connection, you can purchase quick sachets of data, prices for which start from as low as Re 1.
3. How Does Hike Total Work?
Total is built upon Hike’s proprietary technology called UTP, short for “Universal Transfer Protocol”. UTP itself employs the idea behind USSD, a service which has lived on almost every GSM phone since the inception for offering quick bits of information like horoscopes, sports scores, balance information through SMS when the user requests by dialing a specific number.
What UTP does is integrate this technology into modern applications you’re familiar with. As a result, it eliminates the need for dialing a number and checking messages shortly after. UTP is developed to do all the heavy lifting which involves tasks such as parsing the received data, encrypting the payments, and more. Because of this, interested developers can prepare their applications the usual way and Hike will ensure they are compatible with Total.
4. What Kind of Services Does it Offer?
For starters, Hike Total comes with a handful of rudimentary applications. This includes instant messaging, digital payments, cricket scores, mobile recharges, news, railway information, and horoscope. Moreover, Hike has already opened up the platform for third-party developers. Therefore, we should expect a few more in the next coming months.
5. How will it Connect to my Bank Account Without Internet?
The payment block of Hike Total is engineered using the country’s Universal Payments Interface (UPI) protocol. If you’ve ever configured a UPI-powered application, you know how it fetches all of your bank accounts’ details based on just your phone number. Similarly, Hike Wallet will authenticate purchases with the help of one-time password text messages which don’t require an internet connection.
6. Is it Free?
In a way, Hike Total itself is free as a service. But you’ll have to buy a compatible phone to benefit from it. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not an app you can not download or sideload on your existing Android phone.
7. Which Phones are Compatible?
Currently, Hike has announced that Total will be available on four phones, three of which are from Intex. This includes Aqua Lions N1, Aqua Lions T1, Aqua Lions T1-Lite and the Karbonn device is A40 Indian.
8. When will it be Available?
The four smartphones Hike had mentioned at Total’s official introduction will be available sometime in March this year. As an introductory offer, Hike is also offering Rs 200 when you buy any of this phones.
9. Can I Use a Carrier of my Choice?
No, you can not unless your carrier of choice is one of the compatible ones. Hike Total, for now, is supported by only four telecom operators — Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel, and BSNL, together which account for 42% of the market.
10. Won’t Preloading a Bunch of Apps Impact the Already Underpowered Phone’s Performance?
It probably won’t since every Hike Total service measures between 100 KB to 1MB in size. But we will reserve our judgment till we actually get to test this service later this year.