Category Archives: Indian Telecom and Broadband

All the latest Indian telecom and Broadband news. Telecom and Broadband news from across India, with news, views, reviews, cell phone plans and more.

Airtel To Launch Its Own App Store

Airtel-Logo

Airtel, India’s largest mobile operator has now entered the app store market. With the huge success of Apple’s app store, many handset makers like RIM, Samsung and  Sony Ericsson have imbibed the business model. This is the first time that an operator has introduced the app store, though, we had slight idea that Aircel is about to launch its own app store soon when it tied up with Infosys for the same.

Bharti’s app store is set to go live Today, with over 1,200 applications. The main advantage for the developers would Airtel’s 500 million subscriber base. Developing an app which would run on all the types of OS would be a challenge that developers would have to face.

Mr Bindal also pointed out that Bharti held an edge over other players in this space because of its billing model. While a third of the apps are available for free, customers must pay between Rs 5 to Rs 25 for remaining apps, even as Bharti will enable its subscribers to use certain apps for Re 1/day.
For pre-paid customers, the cost of the apps will be deducted from the talktime, while for post-paid, it will be part of the bill, explains Mr Bindal. On the other hand purchasing an app from handset makers requires customers to make an online transaction using their credit or debit cards.
We can also tweak the apps and customise them for each region. There will be a lot of local content and the ability to micromanage gives us the edge. With over 120 million customers we have an understanding of their preferences, consumption trends and other market data which we can convert into meaningful product and services,Mr Bindal added.

Airtel Announces "Unlimited Sunday" for Fixed Line Subscribers

Bharti Airtel has announced the launch of Unlimited Sunday on the occasion of Valentine’s Day for its 2.9 million fixed line subscribers across the country. Unlimited Sunday will be available on February 7th, 14th and 21st and will allow customers to make unlimited free local and STD calls to other Airtel Fixed numbers.

Thought the offer sounds enticing as it is, it would have been better if they would have extended the offer to mobile lines too along with a reduced tariff for other networks.

According to Vikas Singh, the CMO of Bharti Airtel:

As one of the country’s leading fixed line service providers, we are committed to delighting our customers through great customer service, value for money and superior calling experience. In keeping with this intent, we are happy to introduce Unlimited Sunday on the Valentine Fortnight which will enable our customers to easily reach out to their friends and families on the Airtel Fixed Line network

So who are you going to call up this Valentine? Do they have a fixed Airtel line so that you can take full advantage of this Unlimited Sunday offer?

Tata Teleservice Also Launches Push Mail Service

Earlier we saw Reliance Communications launching Push Mail VAS to its millions of subscribers, in the competitive spirit even Tata Teleservice has launched the similar service for its subscribers. Tata Subscribers, Indicom and DoCoMo can now read their mails on low end handsets.   Like RCom, even Tata Teleservice has tied up with ISeeMedia to deliver this service.

Mr. Zubin Dubash, AVP VAS, New Products Development, Tata Teleservices Limited, said, Push 4 All Mail is a revolutionary service that will change the way people communicate. Customers will have to no longer worry whether their handsets are GPRS/BREW enabled or not since Push 4 All Mail is a ubiquitous service that will provide hassle free easy to use email service on SMS. Today consumer preferences are changing dramatically and as a telecom operator it’s important to listen to consumer’s voice and offer services that make a meaningful impact both in terms of service and revenues.

We are extremely please at the commercial launch of Tata’s newly branded Push 4 All Mail SMS-based push-mail service and look forward to some very meaningful traction throughout 2010,said Anthony DeCristofaro, President and CEO, iseemedia. Tata Teleservices is the first operator in India to offer a push-mail service ubiquitously on all handsets which will revolutionize the way users receive and send their email via SMS, seamlessly from basic phone sets.

Unlike RCom which offers this service for 30 INR per month and 50p for each SMS, Tata will be offering push mail service for just 15 INR and 50p for each SMS.

RCom Launches Push Mail Service

Reliance Communication launched SMS based Push Mail for its subscribers in tie-up with Canada’s ISeeMedia.

Reliance-Communications

Mr. Krishna Durbha, Head VAS, Reliance Communications said, iseemedia provides the ideal platform to deliver our next generation service to drive more email usage among our existing subscribers.We believe our push email service can deliver substantial revenue upside over the years to RCOM.

CEO of ISeeMedia said, Mobile connectivity has become more important in everyday lives in India. With Reliance we have the opportunity to promote mobile email to its 92 million subscribers and as a mass market solution to provide full email functionality on nearly 100 per cent of devices used in India. This will allow RCOM to increase its customer base as well as drive the adoption of mobile email usage through new value-added services.

This is a groundbreaking service as it will enable even entry level phones to act as Smartphones. Once you have enabled this value added service, you will be able to read your emails even on non-gprs enabled phones, in form of SMS. This service is available for Rs.30 per month and each SMS will be charged 50p.

200MB Free For Rs.19 On Airtel

Airtel-Logo

Last month, Airtel launched an amazingly unbelievable plan which offered 2GB free download on a GPRS connection for just 98 INR with validity of a month. It looks like Airtel isn’t stopping at it. It has introduced yet another plan for light users. It’s quite cheap at just Rs.19 and useful for users who just want to check mails, access facebook and twitter. To avail this plan just easy recharge with Rs.19.

Plan Details:

Voucher: Rs.19
Validity: 3 days
Benefits: 200MB free download.

Circle: India

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Authorities Pull Down Illegal Towers, Leaves Subscribers Without Service

About more than 300 towers in Noida and few nearby cities were closed down by the authorities in a dispute over whether they had been built on private properties where commercial activity is banned.This action This left subscribers clueless and furious over call cut-off and no reception. There are about 600 towers in Noida and around 300 are already sealed. Authorities have already started survey to find out if any more illegal towers are there.

Cell_Tower

As per rule, mobile operators have to take permission before installing any tower and it cannot be installed on private properties without getting NOC (No objection certificate) from the resident. Mobile operators were left cry baby and alleging that the civic authorities did not give them time or notices before taking action. Mobile Operators also approached TRAI only to gain no response.

BSNL, MTNL Finally Ready For MNP

If you remember, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was to be introduced back in December 31st, 09 but that didn’t happen cause the operators weren’t ready technologically back then. The deadline was then extended to 31st March and now state owned telecom operators BSNL and MTNL are ready to meet the deadline. If you turned in late, MNP allows users to change their service provider without having to change their number.

Trai has fixed Rs 19 as the charge to be paid by a subscriber to avail the MNP service. The whole process of shifting from one operator to another would take a maximum of four days and you cannot shift between operators within four months after the first MNP shift. This is quite useful considering Google Voice is yet not available in India, which is a free service. Google Voice, allows users to add multiple number to Google account and all you need to do is give out your Google number to people. So, it wouldn’t matter if you change your service provider the next time, just log in to your Google account and change number. People would still be able to reach you at your Google number. Pretty neat. But that gets a bit technical for average people in India.

Currently, we have seen the call rates war between the operators and that’s just about to get more intense with introduction of MNP.

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.

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.

Acer Liquid Now Available In India For Rs.24990

Last year, Acer introduced its first Snapdragon based Android handset, Acer Liquid in American and European markets. This handset runs on 1GHz Snapdragon Processor and Android 1.6 Operating System. This powerful handset was recently launched in India. It comes with a 3.5 inches TFT capacitive touchscreen, 5 megapixel camera, 3G connectivity, A-GPS and so on.

Liquid exemplifies speed in style. With ellipse curves, a choice of red, white and black colors, and a slim body shape, Liquid will please the style-seeking smartphone consumer. It fits well in the hand, and displays a smooth finish. The fluidity of its curves gives the Acer Liquid its unique character and unconventional style. Liquid, powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon running Android 1.6 delivers real-time ubiquitous communication and location-aware content. Liquid is outstanding for multimedia, web browsing, social media integration and video streaming,said Richard Tan, Country Head India, Smart Handheld Business Group, Acer.

Acer Liquid

Acer Liquid comes with a 1GHz Snapdragon Processor, Android 1.6 Operating System, 3.5 inches TFT capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 800 pixels resolution, 5 megapixel camera, 3G connectivity, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Other features includes a Acer Homebrew UI, 3.5 mm audio jack, 256MB RAM, 512MB ROM, VGA video recording, 32 GB expandable memory, 1350 mAh battery and upto 5 hours of talktime.

It can even integrate Facebook, Twitter and Flickr contacts in the address book. The device has three homescreen that allows you customize it with different widgets. It also comes with Microsoft Outlook application and Exchange server support. This handset is available in three colors – red, white and black. Acer Liquid is priced at Rs. 24990 and includes a 2GB microSD card. You can also check out the live pics and hands-on video of Acer Liquid.

Nokia 5233 Now Available In India For Rs.7500

Nokia 5233 is the cheaper version of Nokia 5230. The only difference between the two handsets is that, Nokia 5233 does not come with 3G connectivity. It is even said that Nokia has replaced th Nokia 5230 handset with the latest Nokia 5233. This handset is around Rs.1000 cheaper as compared to Nokia 5230.

nokia 5233

Nokia 5233 runs on Symbian S60v5 operating system and 434 MHz ARM processor. It comes with 2 megapixel camera, 3.2 inches TFT resistive touchscreen, 360 x 640 pixels resolution, 16GB expandable memory, GPRS/EGDE, Bluetooth, VGA video recording @30fps and so on.

Other feature includes a 3.5 mm audio jack, FM radio with RDS, A-GPS, audio and video player, Photo editor, Flash Lite 3.0, downloadable games, upto 7 hours talktime and OVI maps.

Nokia 5233 is the cheapest touchscreen device from Nokia.. Sadly this device does not comes with Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. Nokia 5233 is available in two colors – silver and black. This handset comes with a price tag of Rs.7500. If 3G is not much important for you, then you should go ahead and buy this amazing handset.

BlackBerry Bold 9700 Now Available In India For Rs.31990

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion (RIM) recently launched its popular smartphone, BlackBerry Bold 9700 in India. This device has an excellent QWERTY keyboard, 3.2 megapixel camera, 3G connectivity, 16GB expandable memory and so on. This unlocked version of BlackBerry can be used with any cellular operator in India.

blackberry bold 9700

“Building on the success of the original BlackBerry Bold, we are now pleased to introduce the new BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone to customers in India. The new 3G BlackBerry Bold 9700 offers top-of-the-line features and performance in a sleek and elegant design that will appeal to both business professionals and consumers,said Frenny Bawa, Vice President, India, Research In Motion.

BlackBerry Bold 9700 runs on BlackBerry OS 5.0 and 624 MHz processor. It includes a 3.2 megapixel camera, 2.44 inches display with 480 x 360 pixels resolution, full QWERTY keyboard, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi, 3G connectivity, 256MB internal storage, 16GB expandable memory and so on.

Other features include touch-sensitive optical trackpad, video recording, 3.5 mm audio jack, Bluetooth 2.1, A-GPS, BlackBerry maps, Document editor, audio and video player, 408 hours stand-by time, 6 hours talk-time and so on.

BlackBerry Bold 9700 is available only in black color. This device comes with a price tag of Rs. 31990 in Indian markets.

BSNL Introduces 5 New GPRS Plans

bsnl-logo1

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.

Nokia 5230 Now Available Only For Rs.8500

Last month, Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia launched an amazing phone in India, Nokia 5230. This device is the cheaper version of Nokia 5800, the most popular touchscreen phone manufactured by Nokia. This device was available earlier in India for Rs.9400, but now it has been reduced to Rs.8500 and below.

nokia 5230

Nokia 5230 is powered by Symbian S60 5th edition Operating System and 434 ARM MHz processor. It comes with 3.2 inches TFT resistive touchscreen display, 2 mega-pixel camera, 3G connectivity, 70 MB internal storage, 16 external storage, GPRS/EDGE and so on.

Other features includes 3.5 mm headphone jack, Audio and Video player, FM radio with RDS, VGA video recording, Document viewer, Photo editor, Flash Lite 3.0, Java games, A-GPS, accelerometer, handwriting recognition, free lifetime Navigation and so on.

Nokia 5230 does not comes with a Wi-Fi connectivity. This device is available in many vibrant colors. You can get this handset at Nokia priority dealer or at your nearest retailer. This handset is available for less than Rs.8500 in most of the states in India.