Weekly Telecom Bytes: Airtel Pushes its 4G Uptake, MTN – Reliance Tie Up Talks put on Hold

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Airtel Pushes its 4G Uptake; Offers Free 4G Dongles

In order to boost its 4G uptake in the country, Bharti Airtel has started offering free 4G dongles under its new ‘breakfree’ plans (reported by Light Reading). The offer is announced to push the uptake of 4G in its licensed circles and maintain a strong 4G subscriber base prior to the roll-outs from pan-India BWA license holder Reliance Jio infocomm.

Airtel is said to be leaving no stone unturned to make its strong 4G foothold in the country. Recently, the company slashed its 4G data rates and introduced new 4G plans starting at Rs. 450 in its Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune and Chandigarh circles. Also, in order to further expand its 4G presence, Airtel has increased its stakes at Qualcomm’s Indian 4G venture from 49% to 51%. With this acquisition the entities of Qualcomm’s 4G venture that hold licences to offer 4G services in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala will now become Airtel’s subsidiaries.

MTN, Reliance Tie - up Talks said to be put on Hold

MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest wireless carrier that was once looking to enter Indian Wireless market through Reliance Communications Ltd. of India has now put the deal on hold, according to the report by Bloomberg. MTN is skeptical about the industrial logic behind a deal at a time when India is revising its mergers and acquisitions rules, said one of the people familiar with the deal. The deal would have allowed MTN taking about a 24% stake in Reliance Communications that has a market value of $1.2 billion. Earlier, the company was twice in talks to be bought by Bharti Airtel Ltd., which didn’t get materialized.

President to Launch SMS Based Portal for Farmers on July 16

The information related to various farming operations and weather conditions required by farmers has now gone handy as government is all set to launch an SMS portal, ‘Kissan Portal’ on July 16. Farmers will just need to register for this service by calling Kisaan Call Centre on the toll free number 1800-180-1551 or through the web portal. The portal aims at reaching 12 crore farmers and will enable them to take informed decisions relating to different aspects of farming. "Timely market information provided through SMS will give the farmer better bargaining power and they will be in a position to take better decisions about sale of produce," said official of the agriculture ministry.

Rail Ticket Booking via SMS yet to gain momentum; less than 150 tickets booked/day

It’s been 2 weeks since IRCTC launched SMS-based ticketing, and the report reveals that it has not yet picked up pace as was expected. According to the report by Business line, only 135- 140 tickets are booked every day via SMS which is less than 5% of the 3.85 lakh train tickets that are booked online every day on an average. Although the beginning is slow, the company believes that it will soon pick up pace especially in rural areas as there are more number of people in India who have access to mobile phones when compared to those having internet access.

The reason behind the sluggish use of SMS based portal could be attributed to the lack of large number of people using mobile payment method which is a must for one in order to book ticket through SMS.

Reported By

Chhavi is a social media enthusiast and telecom technologies admirer. Based out of New Delhi, she is a corporate communication and marketing professional by day and writer by night. If she is not busy with Telecom, you can find her reading management books.


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