Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vodafone launches M-Pesa mobile money service with ICICI bank

The service will allow deposit and withdrawal of money from select Vodafone outlets.

Vodafone's M-Pesa service, which was announced in November 2012, is finally available for users in Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.

M-Pesa has been launched through Vodafone's 100 per cent subsidiary, Mobile Commerce Solutions (MCSL) and ICICI Bank. This offering will include a mobile money account with ICICI Bank and a Mobile Wallet issued by MCSL.
Vodafone launches M-Pesa
Customers can not only be able to deposit and withdraw cash from designated outlets, but they can also transfer money to any mobile phone in India.

This money can be used to recharge mobile phone and DTH accounts, utility bill payments, to transfer money to any bank account in India and to make payments at select shops.

To register for the service, Vodafone customers need to visit an 'M-Pesa' agent outlet, fill up a form, submit identity and address proofs, and have to deposit a minimum amount to open their 'M-Pesa' account.

The MCSL Mobile Wallet get activated immediately and the customer can do a variety of transactions like cash deposit, transfer money to any bank account, money transfer to any other 'M-Pesa' customer, recharge mobiles and DTH, pay mobile and utility bills. Once the documents are verified and approved by MCSL and ICICI Bank, the customer can do other transactions like cash withdrawal and sending money to any mobile number.

This service is especially aimed at people who do not have any bank account right now. However, people with an existing bank account can also use it. These services will be made available using a network of authorised agents who will enable the customer to deposit and withdraw cash in and from their account.

Marten Pieters, managing director and chief executive officer of Vodafone India said, "Vodafone 'M-Pesa' is offering millions of people basic financial services, beyond the reach of traditional banking (in Africa mainly). This offering has been customised to serve the Indian customer in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements."

The service is already quite popular in Africa where the service has been available for past couple of years. In India, Airtel already has a similar service with Airtel money.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Airtel makes incoming free during international roaming

USA international roaming offers outgoing calls at Rs 20 per minute and above while other countries get it at Rs 40 per minute outgoing calls.

Airtel has launched new International roaming packs for its customers in India. With these packs travelers to USA can get up to 5 hours of non-chargeable incoming calls and make outgoing calls at Rs 20 per minute through special packs, all valid for 30 days.
There are three options for travelers to USA: Rs 1,000 pack offers 10 minutes free incoming and outgoing calls at Rs 60 per minute. Rs 3,500 pack offers outgoing calling at Rs 35 per minute and 60 minute of free incoming calls. There is a Rs 8500 pack that offers offers outgoing calls at Rs 20 per minute and 300 minutes of free incoming calls.
Airtel makes incoming free during international roaming
Airtel postpaid customers travelling to countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, UAE and the UK can now receive up to two hours of non-chargeable incoming calls and make outgoing calls for Rs 40 per minute through special packs. There are two packs for these countries, costing Rs 1,500 and Rs 3,600.
In Rs 1500 pack, users get 15 days validity, outgoing calls at Rs 60 per minute and 30 minutes of free incoming calls. The costlier pack of Rs 3,600 offers 120 minutes free incoming calls and outgoing calls at Rs 40 per minute, and is valid for 15 days.
Airtel prepaid customers travelling to a select countries can also enjoy special outgoing and incoming call rates for Rs 20/minute on recharge packs of Rs 779 and Rs 1479, along with getting full talk time on these packs which can be used both during international roaming as well as in India.
To know more details, customers can call 121 or SMS IROAM to 121 or log on to

Saturday, April 13, 2013

MTS to offer 9.8 Mbps data speed, LTE after two years

MTS will deploy CDMA Rev B which will enable it to offer speeds up to 14.4 mbps.

MTS will deploy next generation CDMA technology, called EVDO Rev B, in all its nine circles to offer data speeds up to 9.8 Mbps, which is much higher than 7.2 Mbps that most 3G operators are offering right now.
The company has also announced plans to implement LTE network in its circles including Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West), West Bengal, and Rajasthan.
MTS to offer 9.8 Mbps data speed
However Spokesperson of MTS India told The Mobile Indian, "LTE is a long term plan and will happen only after about 2 years. In the short term we are looking at improving our existing CDMA network to offer better coverage and speeds in the nine circles that we are now present.”
On asking about the specific technology he said, "EVDO Rev B is a possibility since we have bagged three channels of spectrum (1.25 MHz each with total 3.75 MHz), and we will be looking at deploying the technology in near term.”
MTS has already rollout EVDO Rev B network along the Jaipur-Delhi and Chennai-Bangalore highway more than a year ago, offering data speeds up to 9.8 Mbps.
The company's licenses in 21 circles were canceled by the Supreme Court in 2012. However, it bagged spectrum in eight circles including Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West), and West Bengal again at the auction held on March 11 this year, in which it was the only participant.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Airtel barred from adding 3G subscribers in 7 circles

Supreme Court has asked Airtel not to add new customers in 7 circles where it offers services based on spectrum of Vodafone and Idea.

GSM service provider, Airtel cannot add new 3G customers in seven circles including Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, UP, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh pending further orders from Supreme Court of India. However it can continue to offer 3G services to the existing users in these circles.
Supreme Court has asked Airtel not to add new customers
In these circles Airtel offers 3G services using spectrum allocated to Vodafone and Idea Cellular under an Intra Circle Roaming agreement between these three operators, which has been termed illegal by the Government of India. Airtel has been asked to shut 3G operations in these circles and also pay a fine of Rs 350 crore by Department of Telecom, an order which was upheld by theDelhi High Court. Against that order, Airtel had moved to the Supreme Court few days back.
The Intra Circle roaming agreement allows these three operators (Airtel, Idea and vodafone) to offer services on almost pan India basis, even though each of them managed to bag spectrum in maximum 13 circles (of total 22 circles of the country). This has been challenged by both the Government and rivals like RCom terming the pact as illegal and also anti-competitive.

Vodafone internet trail pack: Enjoy 500 MB for Rs 25


The pack has a validity of seven days and is available for both 2G and 3G connections.

Vodafone has announced internet trail packs under which it is offering 500 MB of data to its customers. The pack has a validity of seven days. If you are opting for 2G, you have to shell out Rs 25 while for 3G you have to pay Rs 49.
These plans are available to both postpaid as well as prepaid users of Vodafone all over the country. However, there are several conditions.
Vodafone internet trail pack
For instance, if you are a prepaid user, it will overwrite your current pack but in case of a prepaid user, you can revert back to your original plan after the seven day period is over. Also, if you have now a 2G pack but you are using a 3G handset then you will be automatically offered a 3G pack.
To subscribe to these plans, send an SMS - 'ACT TRY' - to 111.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Airtel will have to stop 3G services in 7 circles

The impacted circles include Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, UP, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

Delhi High Court has issued an order, removing the stay on Department of Telecom's earlier directive asking Vodafone, Airtel and Idea to annul their 3G roaming pact.
Hence, now Airtel will have to stop its 3G services in 7 circles where it offers the services using spectrum of Idea Cellular and Vodafone.
The impacted circles include Kolkata, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, UP, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.
Airtel will have to stop 3-G services in 7 circles
DoT had earlier asked Airtel to stop its Intra circle roaming agreement with the other two operators and had also asked Airtel to pay a fine of Rs 350 crore terming the pact as illegal.
Airtel got stay order from a single bench of Delhi High court on the DoT order. However now a larger bench of Delhi High Court has quashed the earlier ruling and has asked Airtel to stop offering 3G services and will also have to pay the fine of Rs 350 crore.
Bharti Airtel is expected to approach the Supreme Court on the matter today, but will have to shut down 3G services in seven regions if SC fails to provide relief.
The High Court was acting on a plea by Reliance Communications (RCOM), which said Bharti's move to provide pan-India 3G data services was impacting its business.
Vodafone and Idea Cellular also offer 3G services through this pact and are likely to get notice from the DoT, demanding that they hang up on 3G roaming pacts.
Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea won 3G airwaves in 13, nine and 11 circles, respectively, in the 2010 auctions. They subsequently entered into intra-circle roaming pacts which allowed them to offer 3G services where it did not have spectrum on its own, but used the partners spectrum to offer services.

RIL to speed up its LTE rollout with RCom deal

Without this deal RIL would have to invest both a lot of money and time in setting up its pan India LTE network.

RIL may now roll out its LTE services in the country sooner than expected as it has signed a Rs 1200 crore deal with Reliance Communication, which will allow it to use existing fiber network of the later to provide backhaul services for its Reliance Jio Infocomm LTE service.
Without this deal RIL would have to invest both a lot of money and time in setting up its pan India LTE network. The deal also envisions using towers of RCom in future by Reliance Jio which means that now RIL will be able to roll out networks in almost all parts of the country in a short span of time.
Industry insiders told The Mobile Indian that RIL will rollout launch its first network in 2-3 circles by middle of this year. However major rollout will only happen by end of 2013 when most of the major cities of the country will be covered.
RIL may now roll out its LTE services
Since Reliance Jio Infocomm has a pan India tower and fiber optic network, this seems to be very much the possibility.
Our sources also revealed that RIL has completed the testing of devices, network, content and basic strategy, and it's just a matter of time before the announcement from RIL starts to pour in.
RIL had purchased Infotel, which bagged pan India 4G spectrum in 2010, for Rs 4500 crore. With this purchase, Reliance Industries got 20MHz spectrum across the country and recently it was also allowed by the government to offer voice services on this network.
This in comparison to 3G spectrum is not just much cheaper (Airtel paid Rs 6499 crore for only 13 circles and 5MHz spectrum) but also much bigger chunk of spectrum is available to it, which means that it can provide congestion free network.
With this new deal with RCom, RIL has also reduced its spending on network roll-out which will further enable it to offer 4G services at very low prices. Reportedly, Reliance Jio Infocomm is mulling to offer 1 GB data for only Rs 10, as compared to Rs 250 that 3G operators charge for the same amount of data. RIL, in partnership with Samsung, has also announced to offer LTE enabled smartphones for $100 that too with EMI option

Free WiFi on trains from today

Passengers will be able to access up to 4 Mbps download bandwidth and 512 Kbps upload bandwidth on the train.

As announced in this year's Railway Budget, the Indian Railways has started the free WiFi Internet services in trains from today, starting with the New Delhi- Howrah Rajdhani express. As per the Railway Budget, this year fifty other trains will get this service too.
Passengers travelling in these trains will get up to 4 Mbps download bandwidth and 512 Kbps upload bandwidth but actual speed will depend on number of passengers using the service at any given time. Access to porn sites will be blocked.
Free WiFi on trains from today
Nirav Dave, managing director, Techno Sat Comm (India) Ltd, the company which is providing the technology, told The Hindu Business Line,"Critical communication applications like email or online transactions will be given top priority. Video downloads and gaming would be last, if there is a crunch on the bandwidth availability."
Internet access to passengers has been provided using two-way satellite hybrid with 2G/3G and WiFi. The system will offer 99 percent connectivity and in case the satellite link is lost it will rely on 2G/3G connectivity in the area where the train is passing through.
For accessing the service, passengers will have to provide mobile number, PNR number, Government ID (election card, Aadhar etc) for getting unique password by SMS on the mobile. The system will be scaled up to offer interactive multimedia entertainment with Internet Television in the future.
The Railways intends to expand this service to other Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto express trains progressively based on customer feedback and acceptance. Hopefully this is not just another pilot project which will die down, and gets implemented in more trains before a feedback is considered.

Aircel offers extra talktime when Chennai scores above 164 runs in IPL

People opting for Rs 164 pack will get full talktime, plus Rs 1 for every run that Chennai scores above 164 in its IPL matches.

Aircel, the lead sponsor of IPL team Chennai Super Kings (CSK), has announced that it will offer extra talktime to its users when the team scores 164 or above runs.
The offer will be valid on full talktime pack of Rs 164. Users with this pack will get as many extra talktime as much as the team would scores above 164. For instance, in a match, if CSK scores 180 runs, the customers will get an extra talk time of Rs 16 (valid for 15 days).
IPL team Chennai Super Kings
The Rs 164 pack will also offer 5 minutes (Aircel to Aircel) free for two days, apart from full talktime and extra talktime based on CSK's score.
The denomination of extra talk time will be valid from first match to the next match and so forth and will change according to the runs scored by CSK in every match. In case of CSK scoring less than or equal to the MRP, assured benefit of full talk time and 5 Local Aircel to Aircel minutes will be offered.