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AOL and MTNL partner to form co-branded portal

By , agencyfaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | August 22, 2007
The portal, www.mtnl.aol.in, will offer compelling broadband optimised content across cricket, Bollywood, Hollywood, videos and MTNL utilities

AOL, a & #BANNER1 & # division of Time Warner, and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), the broadband and telecommunications services provider in Delhi and Mumbai, have entered into a strategic partnership to bring AOL's products and content to MTNL subscribers through a co-branded portal.

The portal, www.mtnl.aol.in, will offer a combination of AOL products - email with unlimited storage, Instant Messenger, content straddling across genres such as cricket, Bollywood, Hollywood and music, and also an opportunity to watch videos online. Further, the portal will offer a special section dedicated to MTNL utilities such as services (IPTV and games on demand) and product offerings, tariff plans and customer care help. MTNL Triband users will be given the option of making mtnl.aol.in their default destination to access content across various genres. Content will be sourced from newswires. There are no plans in the immediate future to source videos/content from television channels. However, this will be considered at a later stage.

PG Ponappa of AOL
A disadvantage that the portal has is that the current model doesn't support the uploading of videos by users, the way some other sites do.

The portal will be chiefly entertainment and news led, much like Yahoo! and Rediff. A TVC and mass media campaign (created by Saatchi & Saatchi) is on its way to announce the launch of the portal, which aims to make it a 'cool' and 'aspirational' portal aimed at the 23+ yuppie.

PG Ponappa with
Gopal of MTNL
"With the adoption of broadband skyrocketing, this strategic partnership, leveraging the inherent strengths of MTNL's network and AOL as a global web services player, will bring to our subscribers a world class Internet experience," says J Gopal, executive director, MTNL.

PG Ponnapa, V-P and GM, AOL, says, "We were looking to partner a leader in the broadband space, and MTNL offered us the perfect premise."

On a more general plane, he predicts that broadband (currently 30 per cent of the Internet usage market) will overtake dial-up (currently 70 per cent) by 2010, as a result of which speed and downloads won't be much of a problem. "At present, we have 40 million people on the Internet in India; this will rise to 120 million in the next five years," adds Ponappa.