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Rediff.com  » Business » Airtel follows up Kolkata 4G launch with frenzied awareness drive

Airtel follows up Kolkata 4G launch with frenzied awareness drive

April 13, 2012 13:25 IST

Two days after Bharti Airtel announced the launch of its fourth-generation (4G) wireless broadband services in Kolkata, it is tough to miss the mark of the campaign in the city's key locations.

A total of 27 billboards across key locations such as the Sector V flyover, Park Circus connector and Chandni Chowk in the heart of the metro are marks of a carpet-bombing awareness-raising strategy being followed after the launch by Sunil Bharti Mittal's company.

For Kolkata, the launch is a chapter in history that is anyway linked to past telecom milestones. On July 31, 1995, Jyoti Basu, as chief minister of West Bengal, made the first mobile phone call to the then telecom minister Sukhram.

Today, a gauntry announces the campaign: 'What Kolkata does today India does tomorrow'. It adorns the Ruby connector as well. Airtel has also put up 30 poll kiosks, 4 police booths to mark the presence of the new product.

"We have also installed a demo zone outside all Airtel relationship zones and at select distributor stores," informs a spokesperson of the company. "Sales people will be present there with laptops and dongles for demo to all interested buyers."

An additional 45 promoters have been put in place in the city for the campaign. On whether Airtel has received any corporate queries, the spokesperson says the data will be mapped only by Monday.

The further course of the campaign, according to the spokesperson, will be determined by the first wave of response. "This will also dictate the medium and the intensity of the future campaign," he adds, when asked about other marketing and advertising initiatives being taken by the company.

After the launch on Tuesday, Airtel became the first company to launch 4G technology-aided wireless internet services in India. The 4G technology-aided broadband promises a speed of up to 100 mbps, which is three times faster than the 21 mbps available on 3G-aided devices. Of the currently available devices, 2G-aided services which allow speeds of up to 144 kbps are the slowest.

Airtel promises an average upload speed of 20mbps, and an average download speed of 40mbps. Priced at Rs 7,999 for the dongles and Rs 7,750 for the WiFi device, the technology might be out of reach for the aam aadmi. Even so, this, Airtel argues, is not the target base for the device or the technology.

An Airtel official notes that the target user for 4G is the businessman who needs quick access to data on the move, or gamers who need speed on their internet device. "Also those who  will buy the device for entertainment-downloading movies, etc, would find this affordable," he adds.

Equally importantly, the 4G data plans are affordable. The breakfree plan of Rs 999 allows free data usage quota of 6 gigabytes (GB), while the breakfree max plan worth Rs 1,399 comes with free data usage of 9 GB. Then, there is the breakfree ultra plan worth Rs 1,999, allowing free data usage of up to 18 GB. The initial user reaction in Kolkata to the new technology has been largely positive.

Swati Garg in Kolkata
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