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More Independence for phone users

By Rajesh S Kurup in Mumbai
August 15, 2007 14:05 IST
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On 60th Independence Day, it is bonanza time for telecom subscribers with operators rolling out a range of services.

Service providers, including Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications, are starting new services from Wednesday.

To begin with, state-owned telecom major MTNL will commercially launch its video-on-demand services on Wednesday. The company, operating out of Mumbai and Delhi metros, will roll out its services jointly with India OnLine Broadband, an internet backbone and service provider.

According to company's executive director J Gopal, VOD services allow users to select and watch video content,  music, movies and other content,  over a network as part of an interactive television system.

MTNL service will include Bollywood and Hollywood content (including movies and songs), English and Hindi songs and infotainment content.

On August 15, MTNL's partner IOL will launch its IPTV services in Bangalore and Kolkata. The services were earlier launched in Mumbai and Delhi on October 14, 2006.

CDMA major TTML is launching eight new recharge vouchers for public call office users on Wednesday. The vouchers will enable users to make calls from coin-operated PCOs and Public Telephone Booths.

TTML vice president (marketing) Ajay Mathur said: "It has been a tradition with us to launch a new initiative during every Independence Day. We believe it is an auspicious day for a new beginning".

The recharge vouchers will be available starting Rs 600 and is available for use in Mumbai, Rest of Maharashtra and Goa circles.

Not to be left behind, GSM service provider Bharti Airtel is rolling out a slew of value-added services on the Independence Day, including a caller ring tone, Jaya He Hello Tune, composed by AR Rahman. The company is also rolling out two additional services, Independence Recharge and Freedom Bonanza on Wednesday.

Bharti Airtel CEO (Mobile Services - Maharashtra & Goa circle) Manu Talwar said the company would offer full talktime on recharging of Rs 555 pre-paid card, waiving off processing fee and service taxes. While under Freedom Bonanza, subscribers on the first recharge with Rs 352, Rs 444 and Rs 571 recharge vouchers will get 30 minutes extra Airtel to Airtel local calls.

Telecom service provider Reliance Communications is in the process of launching commodity quotes on mobile phones, a service that will enable users to get information from commodity exchanges and mandis in the country. The company has also entered into a tie-up with a TV18 group firm,, for the service.

The Anil Ambani group company has completed the trial runs and the service is expected to be launched on August 15. This will enable Reliance subscribers in both metros and rural areas check news, information and prices of the commodities. The service would be charged at Rs 3 per entry.

With the introduction of futures trading, the size of the commodities market is poised to grow manifold, with industry experts expecting it to increase four-fold in the next three years.
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Rajesh S Kurup in Mumbai
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