Harsha Bhogle is on AirTel now

By , agencyfaqs! | In | February 14, 2003
AirTel has also launched MMS service on the General Package Radio Services

AirTel will leave no stone unturned in its bid to woo the subscriber.

So now you (read AirTel pre/post paid subscribers) can hear Harsha Bhogle on your cell phone and surf the net on your handsets. For cricket enthusiasts, AirTel has launched a new service called 'Harsha Mobile' - a 365-day cricket expert comments service. The company decided to launch Harsha Mobile buoyed by the success of AirTel's voice portal '646'. Harsha Bhogle has been singed for a year to give cricket updates on all the World Cup matches and of course other matches after the World Cup. For any given match, Bhogle will provide updates six times. Through the voice portal, crickets buffs can also send their best wishes with karaoke/voice messages to the Indian team.

In addition, AirTel has launched the MMS (multi-media messaging) service on the General Package Radio Services (GPRS), which will enable AirTel consumers to send their text messages with pictures, images and sound clips. To provide MMS services, Bharti has partnered with CellNext Solutions, an IT company promoted by the Escorts Group.

In all likelihood, the MMS service would be available by February 15, 2003. The AirTel MMS is supported by an MMS 'masala' portal on its web site, whereby consumers can download photographs of their favourite celebrities and send personalised greetings. While company officials claim the speed of the data transfer would be 110kbps, experts feel the effective browsing speed would be in the range of 30 kbps to 33 kbps.

To begin with, MMS will be offered free for the first 75 days (till April 30, 2003). After the expiry of this period subscribers would be charged a certain amount as fee. Hemant Sachdev, director, marketing & corporate communications, Bharti Enterprises, says, "The fee will depend on the cost of the service and the size of the market." Through MMS, AirTel hopes to convert 15-20 per cent of the current mobile user population (which is 11 million) to its fold. By 2004, the number of mobile user is expected to go up to 22-24 million.

But converting people through MMS is going to be quite a task, simply because of the issues involved. In the Indian market, only 20 per cent of the handsets are MMS enabled and they are priced upwards of Rs 10,000. The Nokia 7650 and Sony Ericsson T 68i are among the few handsets that are MMS enabled. Which is why AirTel is in talks with Nokia to collaborate on the launch of an MMS-enabled cellular phone priced at not more than Rs 10,000.

To create awareness about the MMS service, the company will unveil an ad campaign in a week's time. The company will spend Rs 40-45 lakh on this campaign which will be print-led.

AirTel offers another unique application of GPRS to its customers - the Mobile Office. Consumers can access email and Internet on their laptop using GPRS mobile and AirTel connection across metros and major towns in India. To avail of this service, the subscriber would have to pay a flat amount of Rs 600 per month. Talking about the Mobile Office service, Anil Nayar, president mobility, Bharti Televentures, says, "This would be an indispensable asset for traveling executives as it helps them to be in touch anytime, anywhere."

AirTel has also launched an SMS-based games and quiz bonanza for its customers across the country. Launched to coincide with the excitement of the World Cup 2003, this service allows customers to check updates, access cricket news, participate in quizzes, check match schedules and player profiles besides getting an opportunity to participate in sundry games and win regular prizes. To top it all, AirTel has launched full roaming on its AirTel Magic pre-paid card. Customers will not only receive, but can also make calls and send SMS and MMS in the 14 states served by AirTel. This, claims the company, is the 'largest' deployment of its kind in the world using the technology platform 'Camel 2'. © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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