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Spice Digital signs with GSTN to become a GST Suvidha Provider (GSP)

Spice Digital Limited has become one of the GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs) and soon to provide comprehensive tax related services to taxpayers. After signing the agreement, Spice Digital will now offer seamless integration to ASPs, Corporates, MSME, TRPs with the GSTN network to enable the businesses to be compliant with the Goods and Services Tax (GST). GSTN, the company that is tasked with building the world's biggest and most complex tax framework, has selected Spice Digital to be the GST Suvidha Providers (GSP).

Source - Dailyhunt

Spice GST Suvidha provider is all geared up for July 1st

India is at the dawn of implementation of fair taxation, GST is all set to rollout on July 1st. The primary purpose of the Goods and Services Tax Network GSTN is to offer IT infrastructure and services to central and state governments, taxpayers and other stakeholders, to further facilitate the implementation of the GST.

Source - Financial express

Still need few weeks for fully functional solution, say GST Suvidha Providers

New Delhi, Hoping for a smooth ride for companies under the Goods and Services Tax regime, GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs) have said that the two-month extension was expected as software for filing tax returns or application progamme interfaces (APIs) would only be available by the end of June.

Source - India times

GST Suvidha Providers say IT systems not ready for July 1 roll-out

With three weeks to go before the country moves to big bang tax reform, Goods and Services Tax (GST) Suvidha Providers -- key links between taxpayers and the government -- say the IT systems for a July 1 roll-out are not ready.

Source - Financial express

Making companies GST-ready is big business

Getting companies GST-ready has become big business. Chartered accountants, GST Suvidha Providers and Application Service Providers are handling large number of clients and the charges too vary from one service provider to another.

Source - My digital fc

With NSDL rates out in open, GSPs gear up for a price war

NSDL e-governance Infrastructure has announced its pricing for taxpayers under the Goods and Services Tax regime, becoming among the first GST service providers to set rates in a new market targeting millions of small businesses.

Source - India Times

Suvidha providers are adding niche products & services before GST roll out

As the July 1 deadline for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout draws closer, companies working to be service-providers are readying a plethora of value-add niche products and services to help potential clients make the transition to the new regime.

Source - India Times

Suvidha providers suit up for GST's final rollout on July 1

As the July 1 deadline for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout draws closer, companies working to be service-providers are readying a plethora of value-add niche products and services to help potential clients make the transition to the new regime.

Source - India Times

Spice Digital & Momagic enter into JV to launch AdGyde

NEW DELHI: Mediatek-backed Spice Digital along with Foxconn-backed Momagic have entered into an equal joint venture to launch an app analytics platform called AdGyde, with an initial investment of $1 million.

Source - The Economic Times

Spice Money clocks four billion in February 2017, post demonetization

Spice Digital Limited, a subsidiary brand of Spice Connect Group has announced a record of four billion GMV in Fintech services, for the month of February, 2017. Despite demonetization, Spice Digital has had an outstanding monthly business growth of 100 percent.

Source - Business Standard

Spice Digital signs up to become a GST Suvidha Provider

Spice Digital has received approval to become a GST Suvidha Providers (GSPs) from the GST Network, the company has said. The GST Network is a non-profit company partly owned by the government and states with 51% with non-government financial institutions, which has been set up to provide the IT infrastructure and services to Central and State governments as well as taxpayers, for the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax in India.

Source - Medianama

Spice Digital Joins in to Launch Music karaoke for Roshan Afghanistan

Spice Digital Limited, a Spice Connect company recently announced to become the platform and service provider for Roshan Afghanistan to launch a Music Karaoke product. The collaboration is intended to increase the music portfolio of Roshan Afghanistan, through which their subscribers can access a huge content playlist.

Source - PCQUEST

Companies of the year special - December 2016 - CIOReview India Magzine

2016 is when Digital truly became mainstream in the Indian market with many existing industries and niche market incresingly investing in digitized solutions to fuel overall ROI and efficent methods of IT implementaions. NASSCOMM suggests that digital growth in the year accounted for 12-14 percent of the industry revenues which on modest terms, is more than average for any growing market.

Source - Companies of the year

Spice Money launches Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System (AEPS)

Spice Money, the domestic remittance service from Spice Digital, said that can now processing payments over the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS). Note that Spice Digital said it was authorized by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to offer AEPS services in October.

The AEPS allows payments using Aadhaar and biometric authentication and allows a person to carry out financial transaction on a micro-ATM provided by a banking correspondent. At the time, the company said it would deploy Aadhaar-enabled mini ATMs at Spice Money retail counters.

Apart from Spice Money, payments company Oxigen has also been authorized by the NPCI to carry out payments out the AEPS. Oxigen announced that 5000 micro ATMs will be installed across fuel stations on highways nearby rural areas. Oxigen has been commissioned by the ministry of petroleum and natural gas to install the devices which currently allows withdrawals, cash deposits, balance enquiries and money transfers to Aadhaar-linked bank accounts. Oxigen initiated the service in November claims to have deployed micro ATMs at over 1000 rural locations including in states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.

Source - Medianama

Telemedicine app 'Visit' launches doctor on call service

Visit, an on-demand healthcare service provider, has partnered with Spice Digital to launch a doctor on call service on BSNL network and plans to tie-up with other telecom players to go national.

The service, called 'JIYO Behtar Expert Talk Health Line', has already been made live in North Zone with state-run BSNL as the first telecom partner. Visit is a platform that connects patients with practitioners anytime, anywhere through a smartphone or computer. The telemedicine app was launched earlier this year by four BITS Pilani graduates -- Anurag Prasad, Vaibhav Singh, Chetan Anand and Shashvat Tripathi. Spice Digital is a mobile value added service (VAS) and financial technology (fintech) service provider.

"We are now doing over 500 telehealth consultations on the BSNL network on a daily basis. These are people from Tier 3 cities and villages in North Zone. Soon we will be launching in West Zone, South Zone and East Zone," Prasad told PTI. "We will also be launching the service on Idea and Airtel very soon." The states covered under North Zone include Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu& Kashmir, Rajasthan, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

The doctors signed up for the service primarily belong to the same zone. The service was launched keeping in mind the challenges faced by people while they want to consult a doctor in case of a medical emergency, Visit and Spice Digital said. Also, long waiting hours, and the travel distance to a hospital/clinic can take a toll on the patients' health, they said.

Using the platform, users can now reach qualified doctors to discuss health-related issues. It can also be used for solutions to issues like women's health, nutrition, baby care, skin disorder, stress, anxiety, relationship, parenting and chronic diseases, they said.

According to Visit and Spice Digital, studies have shown over 70 percent of the health issues faced by people can be managed over a phone call or via text messaging. "This service would help patients avoid long hours of travelling time for health consultations, especially for those living in rural areas where the nearest doctor could be 200km away," they said.

Source - DNA India

Spice Digital Limited inks partnership with policybazaar.com for exclusive insurance covers

Spice Digital Limited, India's leading Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) and Fintech Services Provider, has entered into an exclusive partnership with Policybazaar.com for offering personal accident cover to its customer base.

This move is expected to benefit more than five lakh customers. This benefit would also be extended to the company's 10,000+ channel partners. The policy will be activated through registration process under loyalty program.

Under the tie-up, Policybazaar.com will help craft the coverage along with insurance company as per the requirement, and also manage personal accident coverage of up to Rs.1 lakh to Spice Digital's loyal customers using various services at Spice Money counters and Rs.5 lakh for their premium channel partners in the event of permanent disability or death due to an accident. Policybazaar.com will also take care of the enrollment, issuance and other processes of the insured as per the partnership.

An internal study by Spice Digital and Policybazaar.com revealed that despite being important, most people do not pay heed to the relevance of having a personal accident cover in place. In fact, as per Global Safety Report (2015) released by WHO, India accounts for more than 2 lakh deaths due to accident. This number in itself lays emphasis on why personal accident insurance is a must in today's time.

The partnership between Spice Digital and Policybazaar.com would serve dual benefit of including more people under the personal accident insurance gamut, as well as pave way for Spice Digital to expand its customer and channel partner base.

Commenting on the partnership, Yashish Dahiya, CEO & Co-founder of Policybazaar.com said, "Spice Digital has come up with something extremely crucial for the well-being of their customers and we are excited to have partnered with them. Accidents can happen to anyone at any time and an initiative such as this will help create more awareness about the importance of personal accident cover. We hope this partnership with Spice Digital will enhance the value proposition for the company's clients as well as channel partners. "

As per Mr. Saket Agarwal, CEO of Spice Digital, "We have completed transaction worth ?1200 crore which stands testimony to excellent response from the market. We have tied up with Policybazaar, as it has a proven track record in the online insurance space. We believe, the partnership with Policybazaar will help us to nurture relationship with our channel partners & customers walking into Spice Money counters for availing any of the ten services.

Source - Economic Times

Spice Digital now to operate under Bharat Bill Payment System

Spice Digital, has received an in-principle approval from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to operate under the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS). The BBPS is a centralized bill payment system that will allow users to use a single website or outlet to pay all your monthly or repetitive bills such as mobile phone and electricity. Out of the total 62 non-bank entities that applied for the said license, only seven got the approval. Spice Digital is one of these non-bank entities to get the license and the rest being Oxigen, PayU India, Paytm, Euronet, TechProcess and BillDesk.

BBPS is an integrated bill payment system that will offer interoperable bill payment services to customers online and offline. Once BBPS is implemented, customers will be able to pay all their bills at one place. To start with, this single bill payment platform will cover repetitive payments for everyday utility services such as electricity, water, gas, telephone and direct-to-home (DTH) television service. Gradually, the scope may be expanded to include other types of repetitive payments, like school and university fees and even municipal taxes.

To allow customers to use a single bill payment platform, the central bank has worked on a tiered structure. The platform will have two entities-Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU) and Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU).

BBPCU is a central system that will connect all billers. In 2014, RBI had authorized the National Payments Corp. of India (NPCI) to act as a BBPCU for this project. NPCI is responsible for setting up operational, technical and business standards for the entire system and its participants, and also undertake clearing and settlement activities. Meanwhile, BBPOUs will be authorized operational entities for facilitating bill payments online and offline. These entities already offer bill payment service to customers, but do so is in isolation.

"We are quite pleased to be a part of elite selected group of seven non-banking companies chosen by RBI to operate under BBPS. Once BBPS will go live, customers no longer have to visit individual billing companies' websites or physical outlets to pay bills. As of now, Spice Digital along with those companies that have received in-principle approval to join the single bill payment system have to submit system audit reports and obtain certification from NPCI to get final authorization to commence business," said Saket Agarwal, CEO of Spice Digital.

The integrated bill payment system is expected to be interoperable, accessible to customers through a network of agents, allow multiple payment modes and provide instant confirmation of payments.

Source - Economic Times

Spice Digital arm forms new JV for mobile analytics solutions

Telecom company Spice Mobility today said its subsidiary Spice Digital has formed a joint venture for building analytics-based solutions for device companies.

"Spice Digital Limited (SDL), a subsidiary of the company, has incorporated a joint venture company in the name of 'Adgyde Solutions Private Limited' for the purpose of building analytics-based solutions for device companies," Spice Mobility said in a BSE filing.

The new JV will also create and demonstrate a new business model for device companies.

SDL holds 49 per cent equity stake in Adgyde Solutions.

"Consequent on the said joint venture, Adgyde Solutions Private Limited has also become associate company of SDL," Spice Mobility said.

The stock of Spice Mobility closed at Rs 14.69, up 9.96 per cent, on BSE today.

Source - Economic Times

Spice Mudra eyes 20K retail partners by September, starts insurance

NEW DELHI: Mobile wallet Spice Mudra, developed by Spice Digital, today said it plans to double partners accepting transactions from the platform to 20,000 by September and provide free accidental from April to registered customers.

Spice Digital aims to expand network to reach over 20,000 retail partners by September 2016. Spice Digital is committed to serving the underserved rural population in the country," Spice Digital Global CEO Saket Agarwal said in a statement.

Spice Mudra is present in 16 states and has 10,000 retail partners.

Further, Spice Digital is rolling out loyalty program for Spice Mudra customers under which it plans to cover all KYC ( Know Your Customers) customers for Rs 1 Lakh accidental death and disability insurance cover for every month of usage.

"The rollout would happen from the first week of April. The unique policy shall cover unforeseen accidental death and disability from the next calendar month of usage. The policy will be activated through mobile registration process, similar to the registration of transferring money remittances," the statement said.

Spice Mudra has witnessed transactions worth Rs 600 crore in only six months, since its launch in October.

"We initially aimed to cross Rs 600 crore by June, but having completed transaction worth Rs 600 crore in mere 190 days stands testimony to excellent response from the market for our mobile wallet Spice Mudra," Agarwal said.

The remittance service of the wallet had earlier registered Rs 200 crore in 100 days. The wallet service with a strong focus on domestic remittances and enterprise payments has recorded transactions worth Rs 400 crore in the last 90 days, the company said in a statement.

Source - Economic Times

Spice Mobility wins Sach Bharat award

Indian telecom solutions provider Spice Mobility has been conferred with Sach Bharat award for its social entrepreneurship program ‘Ek Soch’ at the recently held Sach Bharat Conference organized jointly by the Times Foundation, ASSOCHAM and Srei Foundation.

Sach Bharat seeks to promote Spirituality at Work and the participating companies were evaluated for their incorporation of four key dimensions in their workplaces: Devotion and Righteousness at work; Self Governance; Growth and Welfare of all and Simplicity and Austerity at work.

Sach Bharat believes that an India that stands glorified through spirituality, righteousness, idealism and self-governance can be an essential complement for a Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat and Shikshit Bharat. Building on a strong and wide sense of spirituality that permeates the personal lives of millions of Indians, Sach Bharat can be achieved by promoting Spirituality at Work.

Source - Voice&Data

SpiceMudra records Rs 200 crore of transactions in 3 months

SpiceMudra, a prepaid payment wallet service developed by Spice Digital, has recorded Rs 200 crore of transactions in just three months. The wallet service with a strong focus on domestic remittances and enterprise payments recorded transactions worth Rs 50 crore in October alone. The company received wallet authorisation from RBI for issuance and operations of a semi-closed prepaid payments instrument in April 2015.

Positioned as a mobile wallet for the underserved sections, SpiceMudra facilitates domestic money transfers and all kinds of utility services payments like bill payments, recharges and railway ticketing services.

The service focuses on the large and untapped domestic remittances market by providing a safe and convenient mode of money transfer to the increasing migrant population in the cities.

Saket Agarwal, Global CEO, Spice Digital said, SpiceMudra had received strong response from the market. "We aim to cross Rs 600 crore in transactions value and expand our network to reach over 20,000 retail partners by June 2016," he said in a company statement Tuesday.

Source - Economic Times

Spice Digital Ltd is now ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 27001:2013 Certified Company

Spice Digital Ltd is now an ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 27001:2013 certified company, audited by PSA Quality Certification Ltd. Activities included in the certification are Mobile Value Added Services, Mobile Application Development, Web Application Development, USSD Services, SMS based Services - Bulk SMS, Transactional & Promotional, LongCode/ShortCode Solutions, Out Bound Dialing Solution, IVRS Services and Inbound & Out Bound Call Center Services.

Spice Digital launches iPEN solution for Indian telcos

NEW DELHI: Spice Digital said that its iPEN (intelligent post event notification), a contextual marketing platform has been successfully running in India with several telecom operators.

After receiving a response from customers across India, Spice Digital which is a part of the Spice Connect Group, is now planning to expand the service base in the Middle East region as well.

"The company recently launched iPEN in association with Videocon and the customer response has been very encouraging," the company said.

With micro-segmentation, iPEN is enabling Videocon to generate about a billion impressions for specials offers for customers and this has resulted in a significant surge in the operator's revenue.

"This solution can help marketers significantly increase their revenues with the ability to deliver contextual offers to consumers. Some key usage scenarios can be - new service launches, loyalty programs for prepaid customers based on recharge value, customer feedback surveys and regular end of event notifications."

A prepaid user is highly engaged with the device as he checks his balance after every event and this customer tendency ensures a very high visibility for the offer.

"After a successful launch in India, we are expecting a similar response from key telco groups in the Middle East including STC, Zain, MTN, Etisalat, Ooredoo, Orange and Vodafone which have large affiliate presence, and at the same time are looking for solutions to monetise their current UnR Products and VAS," said Saket Agarwal, Global CEO, Spice Digital.

Source - Voice&Data

Economic Times

Company of the Year 2015 - Mobile VAS

The mobile financial industry is set to undergo a dramatic transformation in the next two years. Though the voice-centric Indian network is inching towards Data, only 20 percent of our population has access to smartphones, internet and 3G services. Bridging this digital gap with path-breaking solutions is Spice Digital Limited (SDL), a leading Value Added Services (VAS) provider, who has been thriving on innovation since 2000, when mobile was a sunrise industry. For instance, Spice Digital's path breaking service for mobile banking for India's largest bank - SBI, since 2010, paved the way for NPCI to do similar for all banks on *99# utility allowing any consumer to access mobile banking via any mobile device was unveiled by our PM in 2014. Through another great utility service for Railways has been able to offer best in class customer information system on 139 (voice) but more importantly on text (SMS 139 and USSD *139#) powered by Spice Digital, leading to a huge uptake of over 400 Million transactions till date.

Download PDF to read the complete story (Source - SiliconIndia)

The Em Space Widens

Mohan Raj, 24, a BPO employee in Noida near Delhi, begins his day by paying for a taxi. He pays his electricity bill en route to work. Later, he buys lunch and recharges his mobile phone. In the evening, he books movie tickets and takes his friend to a cafe. Routine day, right? Except that Mohan did not even once use physical cash or his credit or debit card. He made all the payments using a mobile wallet. Another young media professional put it more bluntly: “Seriously. Do people still use credit cards anymore?" she asks, only semi-joking.

For people who have limited money and need small transactions - that'll be an overwhelming majority of the country - m-wallets are a no-brainer. Using these, one can keep money and can make payments online or at retail stores. A user has to charge the wallet by putting money in it, which can be done online through a credit or debit card or a bank transfer or through a physical outlet. Many feel the simplicity of this means it will soon overtake other forms of payment.

Led by the young and upwardly mobile, across India there is a conscious shift to m-wallets as people take to digital money. It's changing the way people make payments, shop or pay their bills. It's altering people's habits of carrying loose cash to carrying money in digital wallets tucked inside mobile phones which can be flashed anywhere and everywhere or online to buy that book or a pizza or to transfer money to a relative. "People always need to buy things and they may forget their wallet, but no one forgets their mobile phone," says the owner of a large retail store in Noida.

Read Full Story - Outlook

Spice Digital launches m-wallet SpiceMudra, focus on remittances

Sep 16th, 2015

MUMBAI: Spice Digital, a subsidiary of Spice Connect, has launched mobile wallet 'SpiceMudra' which will focus on domestic remittances. The launch of wallet comes after the company received licence from the Reserve Bank of India to operate semi-closed pre-paid payment instruments (PPI) in May.

Speaking to ET, Sakat Agarwal, Global CEO of Spice Connect said "Spice Digital has 3000 retail outlets across India that facilitate remittance service using Spice Mudra. Eventually we plan to scale up the business to facilitate bill payments, mobile recharge and ticket booking."

He said that there will be great synergy between Spice Connect and Spice Digital since the parent company also manufactures handsets. "Soon the mobile wallet will be integrated with the handset enabling easy payment for their customers." He said that volumes in remittance business is growing rapidly. "We are seeing an average ticket size of Rs 3500 per person and remittances of Rs 1 crore in a day. Customers can deposit cash at any of these outlets, which will then be remitted to their family or friend's bank accounts instantly.

In a statement issued to media, Sakat said, "We will also focus on collaborating with state governments and private enterprises for paperless money transfers and reimbursements."

Read Full Story - The Economic Times

Spice Digital Revolutionizes Assisted e-Commerce through Ezetap mPOS

July 7th, 2015

Spice Digital, a leading assisted e-commerce service provider has partnered with Ezetap,the first and the only Made-in-India, intelligent Mobile Point-of-Sale Solution provider to roll out mPOS services in ‘SpiceSafar’ retail outlets across India. As one of India’s leading assisted e-commerce providers, this partnership will help Spice Digital to amplify its reach while simplifying the process of payments for its customers.

The 'SpiceSafar' outlets provide assisted e-commerce services such as travel bookings (IRCTC train tickets, flight tickets, bus & hotel bookings), mobile & DTH recharge, domestic money transfer, bill payments, etc. Currently, consumers availing these services have to pay by cash – access to which is not very easy due to lack of ATMs in vastrural and semi-urban areas in India. To address this problem, Spice Digital has partnered with Ezetap to provide Ezetap mPoS devices in over 4000 retail outlets. Ezetap mPOS will enable “SpiceSafar” outlets to accept card payments and facilitate cash@POS, which permits the customers in remote areas to withdraw cash, by using their Debit Cards. This will not only reduce the need for travelling miles on end to withdraw cash, but also promote safe and secure transactions.

Read Full Story - Biz News

Spice Mobility acquires 26% stake in Creative Functionapps

July 3rd, 2015

Home grown mobile company Spice Mobility has acquired 26 per cent stake in technology firm Creative Functionapps Lab for an undisclosed amount.

The company in a regulatory filing said, " Spice Digital Limited, a subsidiary of the Company, has acquired 26 per cent stake in Creative Functionapps Lab Private Limited."

Creative Functionapps is engaged in the business of telecom and mobile internet and developing innovative products and solutions for the next generation telecom networks. Its products and solutions range from analytics-based telecom network performance and monitoring to mobile and internet consumer services.

Read Full Story - ET News

Spice Digital launches a premium e-ticketing platform bdtickets.com with Robi in Bangladesh

June 14th, 2015 | Robi, Bangladesh

Spice Digital with Robi has launched a premium e-ticketing platform bdtickets.com. This customer-centric platform provides the customers the convenience of purchasing bus ticket without having to brave the notorious city traffic around the country. bdtickets.com starts with offering bus tickets for the moment. It will soon be incorporating many other ticketing solutions.

bdtickets.com- the online ticketing solution, offers the user with option to buy bus tickets from more than 20 leading bus companies providing their transportation service in more than 600 routes of the country. BD Tickets enables consumers to purchase tickets from any location at any time, just by visiting bdtickets.com. Now anyone can search for bus availability, choose one's preferred seat while purchasing the bus tickets. The platform uses a highly secured payment channel.

Robi's Chief Corporate and People Officer Matiul Islam Nowshad; Head of Robi's Digital Services Mohammad Manzur Rahman; Navankur Sood, Head of Carrier Business of Spice Digital; Rezwanul Haque Jami, Country Manager, Spice Digital along with the representatives of the partnering bus companies were present at the launching ceremony. Read Full Story - Robi Press Release

Spice Digital acquires 26% stake in txtBrowser parent Vavia Technologies

Sep 10th, 2014 | Medianama

Mobile VAS Company, Spice Digital, a subsidiary of Spice Mobility Ltd., acquired 26% stake in Bangalore-based start up Vavia Technologies, the company informed BSE. Financial details of the deal weren't disclosed.

Vavia founder & CEO Alan D'Souza told Livemint that the company plans to expand its services to 30 new countries by the end of the current fiscal from its current presence in 6 countries.

Earlier this year, in June, Vavia had partnered Spice Digital to launch its SMS-based search engine txtBrowser. It can be accessed on the short code 55444 on Airtel and MTS, 55577 on Idea and 56300 on Reliance and BSNL.

At that time Vavia had claimed that txtBrowser has crossed 300 million queries, of which 200 million queries were from India. The txtBrowser service is also available in UAE, Bangladesh and Nepal. The company had also claimed that it had 4 million unique users globally and 500 developers on its service. txtBrowser competes with Intuit's txtweb, which had partnered with Airtel to offer text-based apps to its subscribers in March.

In August, Vavia had launched an anonymous social network app called Confess that allows users to share 'secret' communications within their connections and groups without revealing identities. Currently, only the Android version of the app is available, and the Confess website claims that the iOS will be out soon. Vavia also operates an anonymous chat platform called ChatHunt.

Founded in 2008 Vavia develops web-based products and solutions for both businesses and consumers.

Spice Digital Partners IRCTC for E-Ticketing Through Spice Safar

Jun 7th, 2013| Medianama

Value Added Service (VAS) provider, Spice Digital has launched a B2B travel and tourism solution called Spice Safar for travel agents, as a part of Spice's retail initiatives. Spice is launching this platform with an Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) partnership where Safar act as its principal agent to carry out IRCTC's e-ticket booking services in the country.

The company claims that Spice Safar will be connected to Indian Railways in real time via IRCTC. Retail agents can log on to Spice Safar platform and search for trains, check fares and book tickets online through this interface. A principal agent fee is paid by IRCTC to Spice for every ticket booked and this amount appears in every ticket booked using the platform.

Speaking to Medianama, Sumi Dhody, National Product Head - M-commerce of Spice Digital said that this platform has been launched targeting the offline travellers who are neither internet savvy nor have the internet access to make bookings on their own. The company chose to target this segment since existing online players cater to the segment that is familiar with internet bookings, adds Dhody. The company's sales will target existing retail travel agents through an on-ground one-to-one initiative and Point-of-Sale (POS) marketing material to market this platform.

Presently, the company does not intend to integrate these services on mobile since booking trains through mobile can become cumbersome. However, the company also plans to include hotels, taxis, among others on this platform in the future and these categories may be integrated into a mobile platform. Going forward, the platform will also become B2C, adds Dhody.

Spice's Retail Foray

Spice Digital's decision to target the offline travellers appears to be a calculative and well thought move. We believe that the company is trying to familiarise consumers with their brand to convert offline buyers into online buyers before they convert the platform into a B2C platform. It is worth noting that Spice Digital's website also mentions air ticket, movie ticket bookings and bill payments as well. However, it is not clear if these services have already been launched or are in the pipeline but it seems that the VAS provider is eyeing retail m-commerce in a big way.


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