SOURCE: Kirusa

September 29, 2005 08:00 ET

GrameenPhone Selects Kirusa Technology to Launch Voice SMS

Kirusa's Unique Next-Generation Messaging Application Blends Voice and SMS; Enables GrameenPhone Subscribers to Be the First in South Asia to Send SMS Messages With Their Voice

DHAKA, BANGLADESH and EDISON, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 29, 2005 -- GrameenPhone Ltd., the leading mobile telecom Operator in Bangladesh, and Kirusa, the leading provider of multimodal solutions enabling mobile applications delivery, announced that GrameenPhone has launched the Voice SMS service to its customers, based upon patent-pending technology from Kirusa.

The Voice SMS service is available nationwide, to all of GrameenPhone's prepaid and postpaid subscribers, on all mobile handsets, as of the first day of launch. The Voice SMS service allows a user to leave a voice message without having the phone ring (RingFree Messaging(SM)). The recipient is not disturbed, and can pick up the message at his leisure. The service also provides for sending SMS messages without the pain of typing the messages on small mobile keypads. A user simply dials "*" followed by the recipient's phone number, and speaks a short message, in the language of his choice. The recipient gets an SMS message, and can dial a short code to retrieve the voice message. The recipient can also reply to the Voice SMS message. Several other enhanced features will be available in a forthcoming release.

The Voice SMS service at GrameenPhone is Kirusa's first multimodal deployment in Asia, following closely on heels of Europe's first multimodal deployment in Spain earlier this quarter. To bring the service to market, Kirusa and GrameenPhone have customized Kirusa's innovative KV.SMS™ application to the needs of Bangladesh's mobile users. Kirusa has delivered and deployed the Kirusa Multimodal platform, the Voxpilot Open Media Platform, and the customized KV.SMS™ application in GrameenPhone's data centre in Bangladesh, and has integrated the solution into GrameenPhone's wireless network.

"Mobile phones are all about communicating while on the move. The Voice SMS service provides a convenient and cost-effective way for our customers to exchange messages and stay in touch with each other. Millions of our customers who do not like to type, now have the ability to send and reply to SMS messages by speaking, at a low cost," said Shibly Zaman, Deputy General Manager, Market Research and Development, Products & Services at GrameenPhone. "We wanted to build the Voice SMS service using a platform that was robust, standards-compliant, that could scale to all our customers, and that could be flexible to add additional services. After extensive testing and evaluation, we find the Kirusa multimodal platform and the KV.SMS™ application to be the most advanced, scalable, and flexible in the market."

"Text messaging is the email of mobile phones. It lets callers leave a message without interrupting the recipient," noted Bill Meisel, President of TMA Associates and publisher of Telephone Strategy News. "Unfortunately, many people find using the keypad to create the message slow and uncomfortable, and text messages are short and often cryptic. Voice SMS avoids the typing and length problem while avoiding the interruption of a phone call. Carriers are looking for additional revenues from subscribers, and this technology should expand the use of text messaging into new demographic groups."

"The KV.SMS™ application is an easy-to-use application that fills the mobile user's unmet need for asynchronous messaging using voice. At the same time, the application generates immediate revenue for mobile carriers with minimal capital expenses, and short deployment cycles," says Damon Miller, Director of Business Development at Kirusa. "As the first adopter of the KV.SMS™ application in Asia, GrameenPhone is a key strategic customer of Kirusa that will accelerate adoption of the Voice SMS Service and other multimodal solutions amongst Asian carriers."

About GrameenPhone

The largest telecommunications service provider in Bangladesh, GrameenPhone presently has more than 4 million subscribers, of which the majority is prepaid subscribers. It has the largest network with the widest coverage around the country. Since introducing its service in March 1997, the company has always been a pioneer in launching innovative and new products and services in the local market. GrameenPhone is committed to providing the best service to its customers. GrameenPhone Ltd. is a joint venture between Telenor ASA (62%), the largest telecommunications company in Norway, and Grameen Telecom Corporation (38%), a subsidiary of the micro-credit pioneer Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. For more information about GrameenPhone, please visit

About Kirusa

Kirusa, Inc. is a multimodal solutions company that has developed industry leading multimodal technology (with several patents pending) for the delivery of applications using multimodal interfaces. This next generation of wireless technology allows users to customize the presentation of information on wireless devices by either alternating, or simultaneously receiving information through visual and voice interfaces. Kirusa develops the unique Kirusa Voice SMS multimodal application, multimodal search applications, and supports third-party developers of multimodal applications. Kirusa's customers include the worlds' leading telecom carriers and enterprises. Kirusa is headquartered in Edison, New Jersey, and was founded by telecom and Internet industry veterans from AT&T, Lucent and Vodafone Airtouch. For more information about Kirusa please call its headquarters at +1 (732) 623-2118 or visit

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