(Back after a 2-week hiatus. Sorry for the inconvenience!)
Quite a few models released. Am just going to list them here, without details: Motorola Debut i856, Micromax X310, X2i, C2i,GC700, Nokia 5230, 5730XpressMusic, 5800 Navigation, Maxx MX455, MX335, LG GB270 Dynamite, GB230, KP265, SpiceM4580, M5252, Onida F830, Belkyn Skype Phone, Fly E105, DS440, Samsung Omnia Pro, Sony Ericsson W205 & W395,Karbonn K550, Intex – 4 New handsets and yeah MTNL branded 3G phone by Micromax and 3G Netbook by TTSL.
Soon to come: iPhone 3GS At Rs. 40K. We know the result already!
A new standard for Indian-language SMS seems to be coming soon. Is there not a world-wide standard for this? (or is it just Unicode across?). Will try to find out how Chinese/Japanese/Korean SMS-es work and update soon.
RockeTalk, the social network app for India seems to be going great guns. They had launched with only LG but now they seem to be going into Samsung & Nokia mobiles too. Further, they have tied up with Channel [V] also. By the way, Geodesic’s Mundu suite might soon get a social networking application also, through an acquisition.
Airtel is planning to launch ‘health services’ with a rural focus. Good, but why don’t Nokia, Airtel etc work together to make an integrated service framework of Life Tools & other such services? On a related note, Homoeopathy clinic Batras seem to be offering “live consultation” over mobile.
Also, if you read the article on health in the news item above till the end, the CMO of Airtel seems to be suggesting that operators might reduce their revenue share percentage soon. Good News. With their own R&D center in India (which might produce more value added service than just timed SMS) & even buying other players, if DoCoMo plans to get into innovative VAS pricing too like in other countries, things will change for sure!! In contrast, there could also be a termination charge for VAS services – that could lead to death of several free SMS services.
Nokia Music Store is alive with 3 million songs – but you cannot buy music from there from a PC. You need vouchers that you will get when buying a Nokia phone or you should buy from a Nokia phone. Hey this is bad, I thought Nokia was a services co but they seem to be still intent of selling devices
Airtel has expanded its m-Commerce tie up with mChek to include IVR based transactions also. mCommerce might gain ground in India with Nokia launching Nokia Money. A neat analysis of the perils of mCommerce in India is available here.
MTNL has launched a Location based service in Mumbai with the usual aspects like ATM Search, Friend Search etc.
New & niche applications & services are indeed getting launched – Saffron Art app for m-bidding, Antakshari on mobile, SMS basedvending machines, Stock Purchase, LPG Refill & enterprise app for data collection by Kaybase. Hope there are enough takers for these.
Yet another smartphone app for mobile tracking, back up etc has been launched in India by a company based out of Dubai.
Nuance is reported to be launching voice based soft recognition service with a few operators.
DoCoMo’s entry and pricing plans have for sure taken other operators aback. A casual talk with a few people in the operator’s circle revealed that they are yet to come to terms with it. Aircel seems to have taken the first step to counter that – innovative 1-2-3 planswhere the tariff reduce after the first two minutes. They have also launched a ‘per second’ plan (similar to DoCoMo) in Kolkata. Meanwhile, DoCoMo’s CDMA alter-ego Tata Indicom has gone a step-further and launched ‘pay per call’ plans – just pay Rs. 3 and keep talking without disconnecting the call. Other innovative models like e-paid (postpaid & prepaid combined) from Loop Mobile are also coming up.
Airtel-MTN talks are still continuing and will go on till Sept-30. They seem to be facing quite an uphill task here. The South African Government supports the deal. Meanwhile, MTN seems to be directly interested in SingTel as well (indirectly through Airtel, they anyways tie up with SingTel since SingTel is a major shareholder in Airtel)
AT&T is interested in taking up stake in BSNL. Will they lose money or will BSNL gain by this? I am afraid it could be the former.
S-Tel plans to launch service by end of this year. Pretty modest guys, they are clear they do not want to get into 3G game now and are content with 2G. They made a tower sharing deal with Reliance recently.
Spice & Virgin have expressed interest in being franchisees of MTNL’s 3G service. Virgin might be able to bring in all their MVNO experience here. Meanwhile, MTNL has plans of acquiring majority stake in a Nigerian operator. On the African Safari of the Indian operators, RCom plans to buy out Zain.
Implementation of MNP has been postponed to December 31 (I guess & hope 2009 only ;-))
TRAI has rolled back its recent stringent norms for ‘Caller Tune’ kind of services and has changed it now to make it easy for the operators and also safe for the customers.
It is too late to cover the 3G pricing & auction news! Nevertheless, this link gives you all info you would need – auctions are happening within 90 days! While there are cribs that the price is high, some do feel it is fair. Another department (Space) has woken up now and has expressed concern over the WiMax spectrum interfering with their spectrum. In the hope that the auction would indeed happen as scheduled now, Airtel announces that their 3G services would launch in October 2010. Meanwhile, Qualcomm seems to begoing ahead with clear plans for 3G services in India by building a grand ecosystem.
The % of revenue that operators should share with the Government has been different for long distance operators, mobile operators in A Circles, C Circles etc. DoT has decided to do away with this and charge a flat 8.5% on all of them. Further, operators may need topay only for services using the spectrum and not their total revenue.
Indian Government plans to ban Chinese network vendors from operating in India, particularly in the sensitive border areas – Telcos are worried that this might lead to escalating costs for them. To top it, operators may soon be asked to check their SIM purchases also to have SAS accreditation. And yeah, the Government may set up an agency to monitor all our calls.
TRAI has been given time till November to decide the 2G policy.
Google claims to have been pleasantly surprised by the number of GPRS Users in India – to use Orkut application. Don’t we continuously crib about the lack of GPRS penetration in India? Probably, it is time to take a reality check – though I do not see these numbers in any of the statistics that come out every month. A little bird with the operator says that the penetration is only about 2% for all operators!
SMSGupShup claims to have 22 million users in India, more than Twitter, Facebook & Orkut combined (in India). Their competitor Way2SMS claim to have crossed 5 million.
There is a highly improbable rumor that we may have mobile voting in 4-5 years.
Nokia CEO meets the PM of India – Nokia’s hope is on emerging markets – with installments for phones and what not.
An insightful article on mobile games is available at AFAQs.