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June 23, 1999
Subscribers of Escotel's cellular services can now seek help on crop and livestock health over their mobile phones!
Escotel, which operates cellular services in Kerala, Haryana and western UP, has announced the 'Crop Health Line' and 'Vetline' services for only UP now where its subscriber base is largely agrarian.
A deal with G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology allows Escotel's subscribers to dial 70009 from their cell phones to call the Crop Health Line. The call is routed to the Kisan Seva Kendra at the G B Pant University, where an agriculture scientist answers with advice. The service is available on weekdays only and offers advice on kinds of crops, their maintenance and fertilisers.
For both the services, subscribers are charged only the normal airtime rates.
Among Escotel's other offerings are news bulletins, cricket scores, horoscopes, courier pick-ups, Maruti breakdown services, ticket bookings and meal delivery services.
The Vetline and Crop Health Line are the latest in this series.
Rajiv Burman, chief sales and marketing officer of Escotel Mobile Communications Limited, claims "It has been our constant endeavour to provide value-added services to our customers so that they can get benefits beyond just mobile telephony... We have tried to understand the needs of the local populace and match our value-added offerings to that. These two services are a part of our endeavour in this direction."
Khurshed Ahmed, circle operations head, UP (West), Escotel, points out that "The economy in Western UP is primarily agrarian and livestock is an important part of it. Expert advice on crop maintenance and veterinary is not readily available in most towns and villages. These two services will definitely try and address this deficiency in some measure and will be of tremendous benefit to our rural customers."
Escotel Mobile Communications Limited is a joint venture company between Escorts Limited and the First Pacific Company Limited of Hong Kong.
Escorts Limited has 51 per cent equity stake in Escotel. First Pacific holds the remaining 49 per cent.
Escotel is operating cellular phone services in western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Kerala telecommunication circles.
Escotel has launched its services in 66 cities, supported by 140 base stations. It has over 70,000 subscribers in these states and is hence the largest non-metro cellular service operator in India with a market share of over 65 per cent in all the circles of its operation.
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