Chikka begins free smartphone-to-PC

Chikka Philippines Inc., a mobile messaging provider starts its new service that allows smartphone users to directly send messages to personal computers (PC) and other mobile phone users for free.

The new Chikka services initially allows iPhone and Blackberry users to send unlimited IM messages to all telecom network subscribers for free, but replying to the messages will cost P2.50 during peak hours and P1 per text during off-peak hours. It is available beginning today August 25, 2010.

In a recent interview, Dennis Mendiola, Chikka founder, said that with the launch of Chikka’s new service, he expects the mobile instant messaging traffic to increase by 30 percent in the next six months.

Aside from Philippines, the Smart Communication Inc. subsidiary, plans to introduce the new service in the US, Japan and in selected countries in Europe, to give affordable telecom services to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW).

“We have a great potential to dramatically tap this market,” Mendiola said.

With the new service, it will be cheaper for OFWs with smartphones to reply to their families’ messages.

Chikka has 5.5 million monthly users, of which 20 to 23 percent are from the OFW market. “In 2010 there were over 16 million visits to the Chikka site from 215 countries during a one-month period, even though there are a lot of technological advancement in the communications industry, Chikka still remains to be the preferred communications toll for Global Pinoy,” he said.

Chikka only earns from these services once someone replies to the messages sent by the smartphone users, whether it is from Smart, Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular. Chikka gets 30 to 40 percent from the interconnection charges.

Late last year, Smart acquired the 100 percent stake of Chikka Asia Inc., now known as Chikka Phils. Inc.

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