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Airtel Launched its 4G Network in Kolkata, offers super absurd plans

airtel 4G LTE

As rumored last month, Airtel has launched its 4G LTE network in Kolkata today. The high speed 4G LTE network should theoretically offer download speed up to 100Mbps and upload speed of 40Mbps. And as expected (given its history), Airtel is offering super absurd plans for using the service. here are the plans currently available:

Plan Name Monthly rental FUP quota (GB) Speed post FUP (kbps)
breakfree 999 6 128
breakfree max 1399 9 128
breakfree ultra 1999 18 128

Only Airtel can come up with such absurd plans. I am not sure why anyone would want to subscribe to these plans given that the FUP will be consumed within a week (max) at 4G speed. In my opinion, people are satisfied with 3G speed for browsing, so, 4G ISPs should focus their plans on uses other than browsing like HD video streaming, online gaming, and downloads. As a matter of fact, most of Airtel’s marketing focuses on these uses. However, with the above FUP quota limitations, none of these plans are good enough for a month’s usage of such services. To add insult to injury, Airtel CEO Sanjay Kapoor recommends moving to fixed line connections if you need more data. WTF? Give me plans with these speeds and sensible FUP limits and I will be the first one to come on board. I am not sure if he checked, but it is really difficult to even subscribe to 4Mbps plans on Airtel’s fixed line network now a days.

What is really needed in this arena is some tough competition (are you listening Reliance Infotel, Qualcomm & Hayai?). That should bring Airtel back to its senses.

In case any of you still want to get any of these plans, hop on to airtel.in/4G to subscribe. The plans are only available in Kolkata as of now, although Airtel says that the service will soon be launched in Bengaluru.

As far as devices go, Airtel has a USB 2.0 stick and an indoor wireless gateway router to access the 4G services.

Bharti Airtel to Launch 4G LTE network in India this Month

iPad 4G LTE

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Forget 3G, Airtel is planning to start the roll out of its 4G LTE network in India this month, starting with Kolkata on 20th March 2012. Airtel has appointed Nokia Siemens Networks, Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson to build and operate its 4G LTE network in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kolkata and Punjab respectively. Airtel also holds BWA licenses in these circles.

Surprisingly, Airtel’s 4G deployment will not be India’s 1st. A company called Augere Wireless beat Airtel to it and has been offering high-speed data through dongles (data cards) since last month in Madhya Pradesh.

Our take on Airtel’s move is simple – Please fix your 3G network first, and then think about moving beyond it.

This news makes us wonder if the new iPad will work on Airtel’s 4G LTE network in India. We will surely let you know as soon as we find out.

[MediaNama via ET]

How Airtel is alienating its premium customers

failtel

I am not sure if there is any official terminology, but in my opinion, a premium customer to a telecom company is one who is ready to try their new (and expensive) services, pays bills well within due date, subscribes to ebills & pays bill online (as it saves logistic costs for the company). There may be more criterion, but these are the basic ones in my opinion. By this logic, most software professionals (including me) will be premium customers to the telecom sectors.

If I were running Airtel (or any other company for that matter), I would make sure that I do not piss off my premium customers. However, it looks like Airtel has no interest in retaining such customers. Here are a few examples indicating why I feel this:

Example 1: Annoying non targeted alerts

I am subscribed to Airtel’s 3G data plan which offers me about 3 GB of data per month at a monthly charge of ? 675. Airtel has this check in place for each subscriber, that if their data usage is high, they send SMS to the customer warning them of the same. Now any sane & logical person will apply the check on the percentage of data the customer has used. However, people at Airtel seem to have applied the check on certain pre-defined values. Now, even if I am at 20% of my usage, I start getting annoying messages everyday informing me the same and suggesting me to upgrade my 3G data plan.

(more…)

ESPN Star Sports HD channels now available on select cable networks across India

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ESPN Star Sports, the body which owns the two first 24×7 sports HD channels in India (ESPN HD & Star Cricket HD) have signed a deal to allow select cable operators in India to show their HD channels. The channels are available to 3 cable networks – Incable, 7Star in Mumbai & UCN in Central India. Subscribers of these digital cable operators can now enjoy these HD channels by upgrading to a HD set top box.

All the cable operators in the metro cities are required to go digital by March 2012. This will be followed by digitization of the entire country’s cable system by the end of 2014. This should give the cable operators in non metro areas to educate their subscribers and start supplying HD compatible set top boxes to them. In the metro cities though, operators will have to launch lucrative schemes and high quality DVR enabled set top boxes at cheap prices if they want to rope in subscribers, as their DTH competitors already have a good infrastructure in place for this.

Nonetheless, this is great news for subscribers. In addition to HD channels, digitization of the cable industry will also enable service providers to offer high speed broadband connections to customers. A segment which desperately needs a healthy competition in India.

TomTom Launches GPS Navigators in India

tomtom india gps

TomTom – the Amsterdam based navigator company has launched GPS navigators in India. The devices will compete directly with rival company MapMyIndia’s navigation products and will offer touch & voice controls, emergency assist and bluetooth compatibility in addition to standard GPS features like turn by turn navigation & lane assistance.

The three models Via 100, Via 125 and Via 120 will be available in 4.3 inch and 5 inch displays with a starting price tag of ? 15,000.

Airlines planning to introduce mobile boarding passes in India

Mobile boarding pass

Despite advancements in the telecommunication arena with the launch of 3G, India is still far behind other countries in terms of mobile enablement of services. We reported a few weeks back that Indian Railways is now allowing paperless tickets on trains (although, some of our readers were fined because they were not carrying a paper ticket). Now its airlines’ turn.

SITA – the company which builds IT solutions for airlines is in talks with India based airlines to provide them with the infrastructure to enable travelers check in online and get their boarding passes delivered to their smartphones.

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Airtel, Idea & Vodafone to offer pan India 3G roaming

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The three major 3G operators in India – Airtel, Idea & Vodafone have join hands to offer pan India 3G roaming to their subscribers in the country. This move was inevitable as TRAI only allowed five 3G operators per circle. Those who could not get the 3G license in all the circles will have to tie up with other operators in order to provide 3G data roaming to its subscribers. And without this move, subscribing to a 3G data plan was totally useless if you are a frequent traveller.

In any case, this is good news for the subscribers. No word on whether the operators plan to charge anything extra or not. We hope they don’t.

[via BGR India]

MTS offers high speed internet connection on Delhi – Jaipur stretch of National Highway 8

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MTS is offering high speed mobile broadband connectivity on the Delhi – Jaipur stretch of National Highway 8. Users on this stretch will be able to enjoy high speed data based services like live TV, video on demand on their laptops and smart phones.

MTS says that they plan to extend their network to other National Highways in future.

[via BGR India]

Airtel sets 1Mbps as the new broadband minimum, increases FUP quota

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Airtel has set a new minimum definition to broadband plans in India. Despite TRAI defining broadband as a minimum of 256Kbps, Airtel has set 1Mbps as the new minimum for its broadband plans across India, with 2Mbps being the minimum in 10 of its top cities namely Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and Pune. In addition, Airtel has also increased the FUP quota on many of its unlimited plans. This will give a lot of consolation to the power users who have been pissed off with Airtel’s low FUP quotas on its unlimited plans.

The new Airtel plans are as follows:

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Airtel partners with BigFlix to launch on demand video streaming service

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Airtel has tied up with BigFlix to launch on demand video streaming service in India. BigFlix is a Netflix type service in India offering a library of DVD quality movies & TV shows which you can stream to your computer, laptop or tablet device (no iPad support though as the site requires Flash). Previously, their streaming service was only available outside of India and only offered the DVD rental service in India. Sadly, they do not offer streaming to devices like Apple TV and have no HD content.

Advantages of Airtel’s plan:

  • Streaming from BigFlix.com will not consume your monthly FUP quota
  • Charges for the service (INR 229 per month) will be added to your Airtel broadband bill

Under the service, users can enjoy over 500 Movies along with 100 TV shows, 100 trailers and 100 music videos from the BigFlix library.

I checked out a few trailers and found that the quality is below par and is surely not DVD like even remotely as they claim. Also, I guess the sound will be stereo as opposed to 5.1 in a DVD. Nothing new, Reliance has a history of claiming services they cannot deliver. And it looks like they have managed to infect Airtel with this bug.

But that is just my opinion, and if you want to subscribe to the service, you can visit www.airtelmovies.com or SMS “movie” to 53636, OR call 1800 200 3101 for information or subscription to airtel Movies. Watching ‘airtel Movies’ requires standard Macromedia Flash player version 10.2 and no other specific software.

[via airtel.in]

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