Ufone's UConnect service sets a new standard for innovation in Pakistan's mobile application market

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the newly launched Ufone UConnect service, so I figured I’d share my perspective too. First off, the service is AWESOME. Truly. The breadth of capabilities that it brings to an inexpensive mobile phone is incredibly impressive to say the least. The problem with sophisticated applications like this, though, is that you don’t know where to start describing them since they do so much! So, here’s a short synopsis:

1) UConnect transforms any inexpensive phone into a BlackBerry-like device. Yeah. Really. Since UConnect supports direct integration with all popular email services (Gmail, Yahoo, Exchange Server, POP3 etc.) you can add up to FIVE email accounts and then… voila! Any emails you receive show up on your phone as SMS messages. You can read the entire contents of the email and then respond to the sender of the email simply by replying to the SMS. That’s super neat!

2) UConnect tranforms your mobile into a powerful remote control for your PC! Not just one PC, but several! In fact, you can add multiple PCs and create your personal “cloud”. Any content on those PCs then becomes searchable, downloadable and browsable. And here’s the best part: the content is available even when the PC is “down”, inoperational, disconnected or, ahem, a victim of WAPDA. So, say you want to open up a Word .doc file on your phone… well, now you can! The service handles data conversion behind the scenes and provides your phone with content it can understand. Many image and document formats are supported.

3) UConnect gives your phone potentially unlimited storage capacity. Say you don’t have much local storage on your phone, well, you get 512MB of free storage when you sign up for UConnect and then you can keep adding more as your needs grow. So, you can park all those bulky files and documents on the UConnect online storage and access docs and files anytime you want.

4) UConnect gives you virtual immunity from mobile phone loss or theft. Since it allows you to backup your contacts, store your data online and even keep your email off the phone – while still conveniently accessible – UConnect is the perfect way to survive mobile phone theft. Simply replace the phone, sync up with the UConnect service and boom! You’re back in business.

Other than Ufone, no mobile phone network offers all these capabilities in Pakistan today. While you can piece together some of these features using commercial/free services and mobile phone applications, all these features are simply not available for inexpensive, non-”Smart” phones. And even on Smartphones, most sane minded folk would avoid 6 un-integrated services and instead go the UConnect route.

You can find out more about the service, including information on how to subscribe, by visiting the UConnect site. This is the kind of initiative that validates the “Value Added” model and makes it enticing for cellular users to switch to Ufone. So, the Etisalat/Ufone crew get an A+ for innovation! To be fair, I should also mention that this application is powered by Lahore-based FiveRivers’ Fonitall technology which has already been recognized with awards in the past. In our march towards an industry built on products, not just pay-by-the-hour services, we need more applications like UConnect. Good job Ufone and FiveRivers!

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