3G Auction Delayed Yet Again

It’s time that we should really stop hoping for 3G auction to be ever held in this fiscal at least. Thanks to the yet unsolved rift’ between the Defence Ministry and DoT, 3G auction might not be held during this fiscal. Department of Telecommunication (DoT) had promised that they would not further delay the 3G auction but promises are made to be broken and DoT takes it very seriously.

DoT approached the Defence Ministry to review the new 3G policies and the deal is just stuck there ever since. The difference between the defence ministry and DoT occur in not one, not two but as much as three issues regarding number of blocks to auction, the band allotted to BSNL and MTNL and the speed of the project to set up an alternate cable network for the Defence forces.

The DoT has sufficient airwaves to sell two 3G slots while the defence ministry has enough for two more. But the defence ministry has said it cannot vacate the airwaves until an optical fibre cable network is built to connect key defence locations and this would certainly take some time. These differences doesn’t look like would be solved quickly and might push the 3G auction to August-September, which is definitely not this fiscal as promised by DoT.

Nokia N97 Firmware Upgrade Now available

As we had mentioned earlier that today Nokia would be releasing the firmware version 21.0.045 (RM-505) / 21.2.045 (RM-507) for the Nokia N97, it’s here. Its time to rejoice for all the Nokia N97 users. This upgrade is made available via Nokia Software updater on your PC and not via OTA (Over The Air) as it’s a major upgrade.

The Changelog for version 21.0.045 (RM-505) / 21.2.045 (RM-507) Includes:

  • Improved call reliability
  • Smooth touch screen scrolling
  • Browser improvements
  • Music player improvements
  • Improved image and video stability

As always, we would highly recommend you to backup all you data before the upgrade. Even though Nokia provides User Data Prevention it’s better to be on a safer side. It might be possible that the update might not be available in your region, in that case just chill and wait till it arrives for your region OR you can change the product code of your device and upgrade, if you are just too impatient.

If you notice any further change log in your device after the upgrade, just drop in a comment below and we would update this post with your tip and of course giving you the much deserved credits. Till then enjoy your upgrade.

Indian Telecom Weekly Roundup 3

We yet haven’t heard about the next 3G auction date. As a matter of fact, in a public poll many voters suggested that the government should drop the 3G auction and concentrate on bringing in the 4G technology in India, so by the next 2-3 years we could actually use 4G connection and we could cope up with the latest technology. And to think of it, by that time I am sure everyone would also be flaunting a 4G mobile device with them.

While we talk about 3G and 4G, Airtel has launched an interesting GPRS plan for prepaid customers. With a recharge of 98 INR you will now be able to get 2GB free data usage plan and with multiple recharge you can extend the limit in multiples of 2. To counter attack BSNL launched five new plans with an unlimited download plan. The coming week, I expect Vodafone, Aircel and others to join the flame. It’s always better to have options.

As if caller tune was enough irritating on wireless connections, Airtel wants to cash on its 2.9 million fixed line connections with similar service. Airtel has launched a new service called Family Namewhere you can set your Family Name as caller tune for Rs.15 one time download and Rs.30 monthly subscription. Thousands of standard’ family names are available and more would be added soon.

Last week, we saw some astonishing figures and statics. Indian operators collectively signing up 19.1 million new subscribers for wireless services in December 2009. This is the highest figure so far for new subscribers in a month. India’s mobile subscriber base now touches 525.15 million. So by March 10 we could definitely cross the predicted 529 million subscribers. With this we have achieved the overall tele-density of 47.89. Take a look at the Net addition of wireless connection in the month of December 2010 in percentage.

 

Dec 2010 wireless addition statics

Apart from that, we saw the launch of three new handsets last week. RIM introduced Blackberry BOLD 9700 in the Indian market with the price tag of 31,990 INR. It will be available on Airtel, Aircel, BSNL, Idea Cellular, Loop Mobile, MTNL, Reliance, Tata and Vodafone. Acer introduced it’s first Android based phone: Acer Liquid. This touch screen handset is priced at 24,990 INR. Nokia, launched Nokia 5233 a cheaper version of it touch screen Nokia 5230, just without 3G. Nokia 5233 will be available for 7500 INR which is almost 1000 INR cheaper than Nokia 5230.

That’s all for this week. See you Next week and Enjoy the weekend.

Infibeam Launched “Pi”: India’s First Ebook Reader

We all know that yesterday, Apple launched its own tablet: iPad which can be used as an eBook reader. Also thanks to iBooks it now has endless possibilities. While the silicon valley and numerous Apple fan-bois are busy praising the iPad, here in India, Infibeam, the shopping portal has come up with its own eBook reader. The eBook reader is called Pi.

infibeam_pi

And it’s not just a eBook reader unlike Amazons’ Kindle, but it is also equipped with music playback option. Features and specifications includes:

  • Screen: 6" E Ink ® Vizplex. No backlight / glare.
  • Slim: Less than 10mm
  • Light Weight: 180gm
  • Formats supported includes PDF, EPUB, HTML, TXT, MOBI, DOC and Images (will show in grayscale screen is 600×800 pixels) in JPG, BMP & PNG.
  • Internal Memory of 512 MB which can save about 500 books and expandable up to 4GB via SD Slot.

Priced at 9,999 INR this looks like a good purchase. You can preorder this from the official Infibeams Pi site for 999 INR. Infibeam would start shipping the device from February 22, 2010. Do you think the device can give competition to Amazon’s Kindle or even Apple’s iPad which is yet not available in India?

BSNL Introduces 5 New GPRS Plans

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Has the data plan war just begun in the Indian market? Last week we saw Airtel launched its 2GB free GPRS plan. Today, we have BSNL launching not one, not two but five new GPRS plans for its 2G subscribers.Along with limited download plan, BSNL also offers an unlimited day and night plan for just Rs.274 for prepaid and Rs.249 for the postpaid customers.

Plan 1 Details:

Voucher: NIL 
Benefits: 3paise for per 10KB download

Plan 2 Details:

Voucher: Rs.54 for prepaid and Rs.49 for postpaid customers
Validity: 30 days
Benefits:2 GB free download during night hours and 100 MB during day time

Plan 3 Details:

Voucher: Rs.108 for prepaid and Rs.99 for postpaid customers
Validity: 30 days
Benefits: 4 GB free download during night hours and 300 MB during day time

Plan 4 Details:

Voucher: Rs.219 for prepaid and Rs.199 for postpaid customers
Validity: 30 days
Benefits: 4 GB free download during night hours and 1 GB during day time

Plan 5 Details:

Voucher: Rs.274 for prepaid and Rs.249 for postpaid customers
Validity: 30 days
Benefits: Unlimited download during day and night time.

Airtel To Offer “Family Name” Caller Tune Service On fixed Line Subscribers

Airtel-Logo

Bharti Airtel, today announced the launch of its new value added service for its fixed line subscribers. Airtel has around 2.9 million fixed line subscribers to its base and all of them would now be able to set up a pre-recorded welcome message customized to the customer’s individual family name to greet callers instead of the conventional tone with more than 1,000 most common Indian family names being offered to the user to choose from.

For most homes today in the country, the fixed line remains irreplaceable as the family phone. Having a welcome message customized with a family name will help our customers to enhance the calling experience,says Bharti Airtel Chief Marketing Officer (Telemedia Services), Vikas Singh.

This service would be available for a one time fee of Rs.15 for the setup and Rs.30 monthly for subscription. So if you want to greet your callers with your family name, you can do so with your Airtel connection.

These days, people in urban region prefer to have a mobile connection at home instead of having a fixed line connection for the cheaper rates available on mobile connection. I wonder how many would actually use this service, even though Airtel boosts them having 2.9 million connections, are customers ready to shelve Rs.30 for monthly subscriptions? Do you still have a landline connection at home? Would you activate this service? Let us know via comments.

BeBook Neo Reader Comes With WiFi

product_overview_main_image_neo

While Kindle from Amazon has established itself as an eBook reader, there are many other trying to follow the suite. Now, there’s a new eBook reader in the market; BeBook Neo reader. While it does not offer 3G connectivity unlike Amazon’s Kindle, but what it does offer is Wi-Fi connectivity. It runs on a 532MHz Freescale processor and a 1600mAh Li-ion battery but weighs just about 298g. It comes with 512MB internal memory which can expanded upto 16GB via a SD card.

The Neo features the latest WACOM touchpanel technology, which provides a very fast and more natural reading experience. The touch screen allows you to use your BeBook Neo for sketching, annotations and text mark-up; ideal for educational and business purposes. It can read popular formats like ePUB, PDF, HTML.

Unique features:

  • Access eBook stores worldwide
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Unique paper-like display, read anywhere, anytime, even in bright sunlight
  • Long-life battery, one 3-hour charge will last 7.000 pageturns.
  • Your entire bookcase on one BeBook Neo
  • Use it anywhere: at home, vacation, study, work, travel or any other place
  • Sketching system: create and save notes or scribbles
  • Add annotations, erase or save them

Though it offers some unique features, I doubt I would buy it at $299.00 (excl. shipping) when Kindle is priced at just $259.00 (incl. with Super Saver Shipping ). You can Pre-order it from here.

Airtel Launches 2GB Free GPRS Plan

airtel-2gb-gprs

Availability of affordable GPRS plan in India is a big issue. For very limited or no availability of 3G we have to survive on GPRS. Add to it, we are provided with very limited tap like 199MB etc. Now that Android devices are in market which requires constant synchronization with the web, it is difficult to survive on limited or low usage data plan. Airtel, taking this into consideration has launched an awesome 2GB free GPRS plan for its prepaid customers.

Plan Details:

Voucher: Rs.98 easy recharge or DIAL *567*11# to activate GPRS in your Mobile and recharge for Rs 98.
Validity: 30 days
Benefits: you will get 2GB data plan absolutely free for 30 days on a recharge of just Rs.98. You can also do multiple recharge and extend the limit in multiples of 2. The main advantage is you can use this plan on your pc using your phone as a modem.
Circle: Banglore

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Now Watch Cartoon Network Comics On Your Handset

Reliance Telecom along with Cartoon Network will now provide a service to offer cartoon Network Comics to its GSM mobile subscribers. Cartoon comics like Ben 10, Johnny Bravo, Dexter’s Laboratory, Powerpuff Girls and Archie’s will be sent to your mobile handset for Re.1 a day. The comic will be divided into pages for visuals and the story. The subscription will be valid for a month.

relaince_cartoon_network

Mr. Krishna Durbha, Head VAS, Reliance Communications said, Reliance Communications believes in providing subscribers with the most exciting services. With the launch of Comics on Mobiles service, subscribers can now be transported to the imaginary world of comics by merely pressing a button. This unique offering caters to the constantly changing needs of our subscribers and ensures that they don’t miss out on entertainment when they are on the move.

Siddharth Jain, Vice President and Deputy General Manager Distribution & Business Operations, South Asia, Turner International India Pvt. Ltd, said, We are delighted to be associated with Reliance Communications to provide Cartoon Network comics to their subscribers. As the leader of kids TV space, Cartoon Network has consistently offered quality entertainment on the go to ensure an instant and enriching experience beyond the television screen.

The service looks indeed good, but I will wait for them to launch tin tin and more action packed comics.

Indian Telecom Weekly Roundup 2

Continuing with the trend we started last week, here is the weekly roundup #2.

Vodafone made choosing the right call/data plan hell lot easier than ever. All you need to do is call 121, a toll free number, from your Vodafone number and there are people waiting for you to assist you choose the apt plan according to your usage. Isn’t it great? Now lets hope even other mobile operators implement it on their network, which we hope they would soon, considering the stiff competition.

Indian Telecom industry is growing at much larger exponential rate than expected. Is it Good? Yes, but also lots of pain to TRAI in coming weeks. Telecom subscribers are just out bursting, which might end up in revising the National numbering plan much sooner than expected. We might soon get a 11-digit Mobile number and also fixed line numbers, if the new revised plan would be considered.

MTNL Delhi and Vodafone launched new 3G and world calling cards, respectively. If MTNL’s plan indicates anything then 3G might get cheaper whenever the auction goes live. Virgin Mobile on the other hand has now entered the GSM market in India starting with 5 south Indian cities. It sounds like a wise decision as GSM in India huge compared to CDMA. At the end of September 09, 371 million subscribers used GSM, in contrast to 101 million subscribers using CDMA, according to TRAI. Virgin also bagged HOT jodi’ of Ranbir Kapoor and Genelia D’Souza. We have no idea how much they charged for it, but we know Amir Khan charged Rs 32 to Rs 35 crore to the new mobile operator entrant Etisalat with Swan Telecom

InteX, which does not have a wiki page yet, launched two new dual SIM feature rich mobile phones in the Indian market: Intex IN 6622 and Intex i Smart. The design of the later looks like to be stolen from RIM’s Blackberry but for that low price, the handset is a steal if you are already on a border on your budget.

Since we are talking of border, lets talk about some other physical border. Government has finally decided to uplift the two and half month old ban on prepaid connections in J&K region, stating that the Centre finalized a "foolproof" plan to ensure proper verification of nearly 38 lakh cell phone subscribers in the state. All we can do is hope that their foolproofplan works else they would end up making a fool out of themselves.