May, 2006 - When India's mobile operator giant Airtel's business partner approached Microimage last December, microimage's mobile innovation team was absolutely thrilled as it was an opening to enter exponentially increasing mobile business in India. Then on May 18 2006 it just happened. Airtel, the largest GSM mobile operator in India, officially launched the Tamil SMS solution covering the entire State of Tamil Nadu, the home for more than 55 Million Tamil speaking community, far more than doubled the size of Sri Lankan population.
Tamil SMS and Sinhala SMS were launched in early 2005 in Sri Lanka by mobile giant Dialog Telekom who was the 1st operator in the world to launch such a service. It was later followed by Celltel Lanka which is Sri Lanka's 2nd largest mobile operator. The product won 3 Gold Awards at the National Best Quality Software Awards conducted by British Computer Society in 2005 including the overall best product of the year award.
An Airtel spokesman speaking about the launch, "This special service will facilitate easy communication between Airtel customers in a language that comes most natural to them. Being very user friendly, it empowers millions of people across Tamil Nadu to communicate in their mother tongue"
"Sending SMS in one's mother tongue has more warmth than in any foreign language", observed Vicky, an Engineering student in a city college. Though well versed in English, "Many a time, like when I SMS my girl friend or send some jokes, the impact is greater in my mother tongue" he said.
The service also has a unique key-entry system enabling a customer to type the SMS as fast as in English and a one touch function guiding them using the key pad to type Tamil letters", claims Airtel.
"The subscriber needs to download the application free of charge from 'Airtel Live' on to their handsets. Those receiving the Tamil SMS also need to download the application in order to read it in Tamil. In the event of the recipient not downloading it, the message is automatically translated and the Tamil words can be read using English letters."
"This system seems to have become a hit among college students who relish in using slangs in the local language" Loganathan, a new college student said, "We can use Tamil SMS to message jokes. Earlier, we could only forward Tamil picture messages, but now we can create our own messages and circulate them."
Harsha Purasinghe, CEO of Microimage said, "We are absolutely thrilled about this occasion of Airtel launching the Tamil SMS service where our solution crosses boarders to help another neighboring country's benefit". Furthermore, "Sri Lankan tamils who use the Tamil SMS service from Dialog & Celltel can send SMS messages in their native language to their relatives in Tamil Nadu who use the same service".
Nalaka Kularatne, the Chief Operating Officer who was in charge of the project, speaking about the launch, "Tamil SMS Solution launch in Tamil Nadu is the final result of untiring work done by Microimage mobile innovation team and their business partner, Random Infotech of India". Random InfoTech is in the process of rolling out the service with other operators and channels soon.
Microimage also successfully completed development of Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi SMS applications and currently the Indian business partner is planning the respective roll outs. Microimage is also the provider of Divehi SMS for Republic of Maldives where the Maldivian telecom giant Dhiraagu will be launching the service to its customers shortly.