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NDLS to Become the First Railway Station in India to Offer Free WiFi

ndls

After running pilot project to make trains WiFi enabled, Indian Railways in planning a pilot project to offer free WiFi at the New Delhi railway Station – the busiest railway station in the country.

The plan is to offer free wifi to passengers on all the 16 platforms of the railway stations by the end of the year. Major airports in India already have free WiFi facility in partnership with major telecom companies in the country. It is not clear if the facility in NDLS will also have such an arrangement.

The major concern will be speed, given that there are a lot of people on a typical railway platform. Nonetheless, this move by Indian Railways is highly appreciated and we look forward to a successful implementation of the same.

[via BusinessLine]

TataSky Replacing all MPEG2 Set Top Boxes with MPEG4 Set Top Boxes to Free Up Bandwidth

tatasky logo

It looks like TataSky is leaving no stone unturned to free up valuable bandwidth on its platform. Due to delays from ISRO in providing the promised transponders, TataSky is loosing the edge in the highly competitive DTH market in India due to lack of HD channels on its platform. TataSky has the lowest number of HD channels out of all the DTH operators in India.

TataSky has tied up with Broadcom to provide them with MPEG4 based standard definition set top boxes which they are replacing free of cost for all of their old subscribers. These are the oldest boxes that subscribers purchased during initial years of DTH launch in India. All SD+, HD, HD+ & newer SD boxes are MPEG4 based. TataSky plans to replace around 5 – 6 million such boxes over a period of one year.

This move will free up a lot of bandwidth on TataSky’s existing transponders as MPEG4 technology takes up a lot less bandwidth than MPEG2 without much loss in quality.

[via BGR.in]

Get Food at Railway Stations During Your Journey by TravelKhana.com

travelkhana logo

Do you hate the food served on Indian Railways? You are not alone. Majority of people do not like the food served in Indian Railways for a variety of reasons: Lack of options, bad taste or just simple hygiene. Whatever be your reason(s), you now have a choice. Travelkhana.com provides delivery service from local hotels and restaurants in the cities on your way to your seat when you train stops at the railway station.

TravelKhana has tied up with various vendors in major cities in India for the service. You can search using your train number or PNR and view the available options in the cities on your route. There is also a rating system which will help you decide which vendor to go for.

Once you place your oder, TravelKhana keeps a track of your train and co-ordinates with the restaurant to manage the delivery of your meal. So in case of delays, you still receive your meal when your train reaches the station.

TravelKhana accepts online payment as well as Cash on Delivery. However, there is a catch when you go with online payment. If, for some reason, you want to cancel your pre paid order, they charge you an administrative fee of 10% if you cancel before 24 hours of delivery and 25% when you cancel 1 hour before delivery. According to TravelKhana, this fee is levied as credit card companies charge them for each transaction. For this reason alone, we recommend you to go with cash on delivery instead of online payments. WIth the delays that Indian trains have to go through, it might be the most logical choice.

There is, however, a simple solution to this problem: Travelkhana should charge your card only when your food has been delivered. That way, if you cancel your order, there is no transaction needed as your card hasn’t been charged yet. This will work for at least all the credit card based transactions.

If you happen to give TravelKhana.com a try, do let us know your experience in the comments.

Trade in Your Old Tablet When You Buy an iPad in India

ipad exchange india

Apple is gearing up its marketing and promotion schemes in India. After a successful smartphone exchange program (which, like everything else, was copied by Samsung), Apple is now offering to trade your old tablet (including your old iPads) when you buy a new iPad in India.

Under the exchange program, customer will get a minimum of INR 4000 when they bring their old tablets. Additional value is given to old iPads over other tablets.

Here is what you can expect from your old tablet:

Tablet Value
All tablets except iPad INR 4000
iPad 1 3G INR 5500
iPad 2 WiFi INR 7000
iPad 2 3G INR 9000
iPad 3 WiFi INR 9500
iPad 3 3G INR 11500

[via BGR India]

TataSky Might Sue ISRO for not Allocating Transponders

tatasky logo

It looks like TataSky has exhausted all polite means to get critical transponders it needs to stay competitive in the DTH ecosystem in India. As reported earlier, they are already maxed out on their capacity to beam HD channels in India and are trying out various methods like vertical polarity, SAT CR etc. to figure out a way to increase their capacity of carrying HD channels in India. But the truth is, with millions of installations already in place, it is next to impossible to implement a solution that will work for everyone.

TataSky’s CEO says that they requested for 12 transponders on ISRO’s GSAT 10 in 2007 and should have been allocated the transponders by 2009. However, GSAT 10 launch was delayed by 3 years (!) and even after several months of the satellite launch, they have not yet received the transponders [source].

This is a big goof up by state run ISRO and they are on the receiving end of the wrath of a lot of disappointed and irritated TataSky subscribers. We hope the issue is resolved soon and that TataSky can catch up to the other operators in the HD arena.

[via NBW]

Buy Electronics & Kindle via Amazon in India

amazon india logo

A couple of days after launching the marketplace in India, Amazon.in has partnered will sellers to offer electronics for sale in India. The new categories introduced are mobiles, cameras & portable media players. There are a couple of sellers that are selling the latest gadgets in these categories and are also participating in the fulfilled by amazon program.

In addition, amazon is also selling their kindle e-book reader in India via Croma Retail. All the models of kindle (including Kindle Fire and paperwhite) which were previously not available in India are now being officially sold by Croma retail on amazon.in.

Amazon seems to be taking a very patient approach to enter a market already filled with a plethora of local players. It looks like they are taking their time to analyze the market, figure out the best strategy and then enter. It will be really interesting to see what changes they bring in this ecosystem in India.

Amazon Launches amazon.in in India

amazon india logo

Amazon has officially launched its marketplace in India and is accepting orders from Indian customers. The domain name is amazon.in and the site resembles the amazon sites all around the world.
 
The products sold on the site are just fulfilled by amazon and not sold by them. Amazon has tied up with various sellers and provides them with warehouse & fulfillment options in order for the customers to have consistent amazon quality experience.
 
Currently, only books, movies & TV shows are on sale with more categories like mobile phones & cameras.
 
Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world and its entry in the Indian ecommerce space is a milestone. The site is definitely going to give a tough competition to major online retailers in India owing to the extensive experience they carry with them. It will be interesting to see how they use this experience and their deep pockets to tailor the amazon experience for the Indian consumers.

Flipkart Shutting Down its Flyte Digital Music Store

flyte mp3 logo

After a little over a year, flipkart is shutting down its flyte digital music store in India. We first reported about flipkart’s launch of flyte digital music store in February 2012 and since then, flyte grew up to a catalogue of 15 million songs making it the largest store for digital music in India. According to flipkart, the reason for closing down flyte digital music service is the prevalent music piracy in India and lack of easy micro payments.

Here is what we think flipkart might have done to prevent this:

1. Marketing

There was absolutely no marketing done for flyte. Everything people knew about the service was due to word of mouth or banners on flipkart.com. Things like banners on trailers of films on music channels (iTunes has been doing that since years now) make a lot of difference and help in spreading awareness about the service. There were ads for flipkart.com, however, we never saw ads for flyte either on TV or in print media.

2. Promotions

Apart from their anniversary offer, flyte never had any promotions. I am talking about things like:

  • free flyte coupons/song vouchers in your flipkart.com shipments
  • gifting options for songs & albums
  • QR codes in print media and multiplexes in a movie’s poster that link to the digital album of the movie on flyte

3. Better integration on iOS

I know that its difficult to maintain margins when you have songs priced at INR 6 due to Apple’s 30% cut in the in app purchase policy, however, flyte could have at least let iOS users purchase music using a nice mobile site like amazon. The sad part was that they have a mobile site for physical products, but no mobile site for digital products.

4. Aggregated payments

iTunes has been doing this for some  time now. Instead of charging a user’s card when he has purchased just one or two songs, wait for a few days for the user to purchase some more songs and then charge the card for a bigger amount. That way, it is easy to overcome the issue of micro payments. It also helps reduce the number of calls made to the payment gateway. And if the user doesn’t purchase more songs in the next few days, just charge for that song. It will still lower the number of transactions on the card.

In any case, I am sure that the decision was taken considering many other things which we might not know about. We wish the flyte team good luck and hope that they will come up with a better and more profitable digital music store in the future.

Indian Railways to Offer Free WiFi on Trains Starting Today

rajdhani express

As announced in the rail budget this year, Indian Railways is starting its free WiFi service in trains starting today. The first train to offer this service to its passengers is the New Delhi – Howrah Rajdhani Express.

The train will have a 4 Mbps connection which will be shared amongst all the passengers on the train (which is very low in our opinion). Passengers will have to provide their mobile number or PNR number in order to get the password over SMS to access the free WiFi service.

Users will be able to browse, check emails, chat and even watch YouTube videos (if the speed allows) on the free wifi connection. However, the service will block access to all porn sites and illegal sites.

Indian Railways plans to offer the free WiFi service to 50 other trains by the end of this year which includes all the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto Express in addition to other trains. We hope that they also plan to increase the speed as 4 Mbps will be too low, especially on Shatabdi trains which will have passengers sitting during the day (as opposed to sleeping on overnight trains).

[via BGR India]

Indian Airports to Accept Mobile Boarding Passes for Domestic Flights Soon

mobile boarding pass

TOI is reporting that the Ministry of Civil Aviation of India has asked the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security to enable airline companies to issue barcoded boarding passes on mobile phones. The ministry wants to implement this system in the coming weeks, so that the domestic airline companies in India will soon be able to send mobile boarding passes to travelers on their email.

This is a welcome move and will surely benefit a lot of travelers and save a lot or trees. This will also result in shorter lines at the check in counters at the airports. Most smartphone vendors offer apps for such purposes which were otherwise useless before in India. Apple has Passbook app on the iPhone and Samsung has the wallet app on its Android based smartphones. After this move, these apps should be of some real use to India consumers.

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