Monday, October 27, 2008

Add Emotions to your Message!

VoiceSMS is a voice messaging platform that enables the sharing of asynchronous short voice messages between users. VoiceSMS does not require an end-user to download a handheld software client, does not require users to sign-up for a new service or plan, and is available in numerous languages. This allows VoiceSMS to be immediately available to all of the subscribers (pre-paid and post-paid). Forget typing and sending just text messages. Now you can record your message, song or just voice, in any language of your choice and send to a friend. Airtel recently launched this unique "talk and listen" Voice SMS service across India.

Here is how it works: to send a message, the user dials "*" followed by the recipient's number, and leaves a message up to 29 seconds long. The service then sends an SMS notification to the receiver, who dials "*0*" to hear the message. The service is charged at 75cents per SMS. Airtel customers, on receiving a Voice SMS, could hear it free of cost for the first time. The voice SMS can be stored in the archives too. To retrieve it from the archive, the user would have to press "*1*" for which he/she would be charged 75 cents per message. When the message is sent to a non-Airtel number, the user can retrieve the voice SMS by dialling a 10-digit number that he receives on his mobile. This will be an outgoing call for him, charged according to the rate plan. The voice SMS service will be available for Airtel customers in India and can be sent to all mobile networks in the circle.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bharti Airtel Lanka signs IT management deal with IBM








Bharti Airtel, which is set to launch mobile services in Sri Lanka by December, has outsourced all its IT requirements in the island nation to IBM. In 2004, Bharti Airtel had signed a 10-year $750 million IT outsourcing deal with IBM, but the value of the contract is now pegged to be over $1.5 billion, making it by far the largest domestic IT arrangement.

Bharti Airtel’s president (mobility) said that IBM would provide IT support for Bharti’s operations in Sri Lanka and also added that this was an extension of the software major’s contract in India. In fact, amongst Bharti’s partners in India, only IBM’s contract extends to new markets that Bharti is expanding to.

For instance, while Ericsson and Nokia Siemens are Bharti’s network partners in India, China’s Huawei is building the telco’s infrastructure in Sri Lanka. Similarly, the four BPOs IBM Daksh, MphasiS, TeleTech (acquired by Aegis BPO this year) and Hinduja TMT — who handle Bharti’s customer services here will not be involved in the Lankan operations. Mr Kapoor was also confident that Bharti will be able to launch its mobile services by December despite tbeing involved in a bitter war of words with operators there. Bharti has accused the existing mobile players there of ‘not providing interconnection to it on the same terms as they practice amongst themselves’.

Interconnection charges apply when any voice or data which originates in the network of one operator is passed on the network of another operator. For instance, if a Bharti customer were to call a customer with Dialog, than Bharti pays an interconnect charge to transit of the traffic.

“This issue is temporarily resolved. All operators have agreed to maintain status quo for the next six months,” Mr Kapoor said.

HSPA, the undisputed choice for mobile broadband

HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) is like having your home cable broadband experience delivered to your mobile phone or notebook.

HSPA is part of the GSM 3G network and is (predominately) a software upgrade of the network infrastructure. To use the high speed variant, you need a mobile device that is HSPA-enabled - most new mobile phones and high-end notebooks have these as standard.

HSPA has a great legacy, coming from the GSM family, which delivers mobile communications to over a third of the world’s population. It is the latest technology to enable even faster data rates for mobile users available today. The evolution has seen familiar acroymns such as GPRS (the first packet technology giving around 128kb/s) to EDGE (an enhanced version offering around 240kb/s) and then the introduction of 3G networks increasing the data rate to 384kb/s.

The various enhancements on the HSPA route are as follows:

HSDPA – High Speed Downlink Packet Access – the ability to receive large files to your mobile device such as email attachments, PowerPoint presentations or web pages. HSDPA 3.6mbps network can download a typical music file of around 3Mbytes in 8.3 secs and a 5Mbps video clip in 13.9 secs. Speeds achieved by HSDPA top 14.4Mb/s but most network operators provide speeds up to 3.6Mbps, with the rollout of 7.2Mbps quickly growing. HSDPA networks have been around for about 2 years and are deployed and offering mobile broadband right across the world.













HSUPA – High Speed Uplink Packet Access – this is a further enhancement to increase the speed by which you communicate from your mobile device – for example, this enables you to upload videos to YouTube in secs so that you can share the experience in real time. The upload speeds which were at 384kb/s with HSDPA are now increased to a maximum of 5.7Mb/s

HSUPA is available in a few countries today with 2008 really seeing this as common place.

HSPA Evolved – this is also known as HSPA+ is the next step and is more focused on delivering data services enabling speeds of up to 42Mb/s in the downlink and 11Mb/s in the uplink. HSPA Evolved will be available in late 2008 early 2009.

All of these are acronyms mean Mobile Broadband, today!

Common terms used by mobile network operators to market the service are: 3G+, NextG, 3G Broadband, 3.5G and many more.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mobile virtual network operator




A mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) is a company that provides mobile phone service but does not have its own licensed frequency allocation of radio spectrum, nor does it necessarily have all of the infrastructure required to provide mobile telephone service.[1] A company that does have frequency allocation(s) and all the required infrastructure to run an independent mobile network is known simply as a Mobile Network Operator (MNO). MVNOs are roughly equivalent to the "switchless resellers" of the traditional landline telephone market. Switchless resellers buy minutes wholesale from the large long distance companies and retail them to their customers.

An MNO that does not have a frequency spectrum allocation in a particular geographical region may operate as an MVNO in that region. MVNOs can operate using any of the mobile technologies MNOs use, such as Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), GSM and the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS).

The first commercially successful MVNO in the UK was Virgin Mobile UK, launched in the United Kingdom in 1999 and now has over 4 million customers in the UK. Its success was replicated in the US, but ventures in Australia have not been so successful, and failed in Singapore, albeit with a different strategy.

An MVNO's roles and relationship to the MNO vary by market, country and the individual situations of the MNO and MVNO. In general, an MVNO is an entity or company that works independently of the mobile network operator and can set its own pricing structures, subject to the rates agreed with the MNO. Usually, the MVNO does not own any GSM, CDMA or other core mobile network related infrastructure, such as Mobile Switching Centers (MSCs), or a radio access network. Some may own their own Home Location Register, or HLR, which allows more flexibility and ownership of the subscriber's mobile phone number (MSISDN) - in this case, the MVNO appears as a roaming partner to other networks abroad, and as a "network" within its own region. Some MVNOs run their own Billing and Customer Care solutions known as BSS (Business Support Systems). Many use an MVNE.
















There is a distinction between MVNOs and service providers. MVNOs refer to mobile operators who are not licensed radio frequency holders and lease radio frequency from MNOs in order to set up their mobile virtual networks. By these virtual networks they act similar as genuine MNOs in the sense that they can have their own SIM-cards which are different from the SIM-cards of the MNOs who lease those frequencies and they can also conclude interconnection agreements with MNOs or MVNOs. Based on their virtual networks they can either provide wholesale services to their retail arms, or sell wholesale services to mobile service providers. By contrast, service providers are companies that purchase wholesale mobile minutes and resell to end-users. Normally they do not have their own SIM-cards that are provided by their hosting MNOs or MVNOs. The services provided by service providers depend on the services of the hosting MNOs or MVNOs. In addition, interconnection of service providers is carried out by their hosting MNOs or MVNOs.

MNP next big entry to Sri Lanka mobile market





The next big change in the Sri Lankan telecom industry, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is expected to result in price cuts and other benefits to all mobile users. MNP allows a mobile subscriber to change his operator without changing the number. This easier entry into other networks allows users to choose the best service with less hassle.

It improves market competition which can result in many companies luring subscribers with better services and rates. Executive Director of LIRNEasia, Prof. Rohan Samarajiva said the service charges have come down even in countries which already had lower rates than Sri Lanka, and we can be very optimistic of better rates. He added that the country is estimated to have seven million mobile users and is in a good position to implement MNP.

Since there is a slowing of growth in the mobile subscriber base, this can be beneficial for companies with a small market share. “MNP does not create competition but improves existing competition” he said, explaining that MNP is only good for smaller companies and new entrants, who can lure subscribers with better packages. MNP gives customers to exercise their right to choose so if the existing companies are providing better service, the subscribers will continue to use them. MNP has been implemented in several countries with mixed results and Pakistan has become the first South Asian country, starting its operations this year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Remember the joy of running?




There was a time when we just ran.

To the school bus.
To the water tap.
To the sound of the door bell.
Nothing stopped us then.

Come let’s see the world through the eyes of a child
and drop the barriers that we put around ourselves.

It’s the time to experience the joy of running.
Once again

video

Monday, October 13, 2008

Airtel & RIM unveil new BlackBerry Bold in India












Airtel and Research In Motion (RIM) introduced the highly anticipated BlackBerry Bold smartphone to customers in India. Priced at Rs. 34,990/-, the BlackBerry Bold now available at Airtel authorized channels nationally.

The launch of BlackBerry Bold marks the beginning of a new era in business mobility in India. Crafted from premium materials inside and out, the BlackBerry Bold smartphone is the first BlackBerry smartphone to support tri-band HSDPA high-speed networks around the world, providing superior functionality and performance for business professionals and power users.

The BlackBerry Bold smartphone integrates 802.11 a/b/g Wi-Fi and GPS, which can pinpoint the user's location and supports location-based applications and services. It comes with a beautiful half-VGA (480x320 resolution at 217 ppi) color LCD that is fused to the undersurface of the lens, making images and videos appear in stunning definition and clarity. The smartphone also comes with rich multimedia capabilities including a media player for music, videos and photos and a 2 megapixel camera with video recording.

“We at RIM are excited with the response to BlackBerry in the Indian market. Through the widened reach of Airtel, we look forward to penetrate the high level of consumer sophistication in the Indian market by introducing the new BlackBerry Bold which will set new benchmarks in business mobility by integrating elegance with powerful internet speed,” said Mr. Jim Balsillie Co-CEO Research In Motion.

“We are delighted with the opportunity to bring the BlackBerry Bold smartphone for Airtel customers" said, Mr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Marketing Officer, Mobile Services, Airtel. “We are always committed to introduce innovative and cutting edge technology to our users. BlackBerry Bold users will experience next generation technology and also be able to optimize their business and leisure time while on the move.”

Rich multimedia functionality with desktop-style web pages

The BlackBerry Bold smarpthone features a 2 megapixel camera with video recording capability and an enhanced media player that can display pictures and slideshows quickly, play movies smoothly in full screen mode, and manage an entire music collection. Audio can be played over the handset’s dual speakers in rich, stereo sound, and when using headphones or external speakers, the media player gives the user an equalizer with 11 preset filters – like "Lounge", "Jazz" and "Hip Hop" – that boost or soften audio ranges to create the perfect ambiance.

Managing music, pictures and video is made easy with the inclusion of Roxio Media Manager for BlackBerry as well as Roxio Photosuite 9 LE in the BlackBerry Desktop Manager software. Users can enhance pictures and create photo albums on the computer. For users that manage their collection with iTunes, the new BlackBerry Media Sync application provides a simple way to sync iTunes digital music collections with the smartphone*.

The BlackBerry Bold smartphone also comes with a newly enhanced, high performance browser, giving users an on-the-go web browsing experience with desktop-style depiction. The trackball mimics a mouse, making it easy to navigate sites in "Page View" or "Column View" or to zoom in on specific parts of a web page, while various emulation settings allow users to choose between the full desktop-style HTML content and layout or the mobile version.

Outstanding performance with superb phone features

Powering its robust communications and multimedia capabilities, including phone, email, messaging, organizer, browser, camera and media player, the BlackBerry Bold smartphone comes with a next-generation 624 MHz mobile processor, 128 MB Flash memory plus 1 GB on-board storage memory, and a microSD/SDHC memory card slot** that is conveniently accessible from a side door. DataViz Documents to Go is also preloaded, enabling users to edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly on the smartphone.

The BlackBerry Bold smartphone also features a new acoustic design that increases the size of the phone’s audio sweet spot, improving listening quality and clarity. It comes with support for hands-free headsets, stereo headsets, car kits (including car kits that adhere to the Bluetooth Remote SIM Access Profile) and other Bluetooth peripherals, noise cancellation technology that offsets background noise, a powerful speaker phone and support for polyphonic, mp3 and MIDI ring tones.

Robust email and messaging

The BlackBerry Bold smartphone works with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which enables advanced security and IT administration within IBM Lotus Domino, Microsoft Exchange and Novell GroupWise environments, as well as BlackBerry Professional Software for small businesses. It also works with BlackBerry Internet Service, which gives users access to up to 10 supported work or personal email accounts (including most popular ISP email accounts).

Bharti Airtel Adds 2.70 Million Mobile Phone Users In September











Indian telecommunications operator Bharti Airtel Ltd. (532454.BY) added 2.70 million mobile users in September, industry data showed Saturday.

As a result, Bharti's total mobile phone user base grew to 77.48 million subscribers at the end of September, according to data released by Cellular Operators Association of India.

In the same month, Vodafone Essar added 1.87 million mobile phone users taking its total subscriber base to 54.62 million, said COAI, which represents the cellular operators using global system for mobile communications technology.

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL.YY) added 676,965 mobile phone users, taking its total subscriber base to 39.17 million at the end of September.

Idea Cellular Ltd. (532822.BY) added 1.10 million users and had 30.38 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of September.

Another state-run operator, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (500108.BY), added 38,478 new mobile phone users in September and has a total mobile subscriber base of 3.68 million.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Dialog share price down to all time low




Sri Lanka’s telecom giant and once most profitable corporate Dialog Telekom’s share price yesterday slipped to its all time low of Rs. 7.75 including an intra-day lowest of Rs. 7.50, but the Company has ruled out a share buy back deal.

Dialog Telekom CEO Dr. Hans Wijesuriya in comments to Reuters yesterday had said there were no plans to buy- back shares to try to boost the price from an all-time low.

Dialog share price has dropped 40% since Aug. 13, when the company announced a 78% fall in quarterly profits. “Movement of the share price is certainly a result of multiple market dynamics and the company does not intend to influence those,” Wijesuriya said, referring to market speculation about a share buyback. High interest rates, high inflation and a global credit crunch have also contributed to the share’s fall, as well as squeezed profit margins, Wijesuriya said.

Despite a sour bottom line, Dialog remains the undisputed leader. Last week it announced a key milestone of 5 million plus customer base, growing 17.4 percent in January-September. “Usage is growing, but at a rate which is a little lower than last year. With the economic conditions, plus competition, there is pressure on margins. I think it’s short-term.” Sri Lanka’s annual inflation hit a 6-year high last month, and Dialog slashed call charges twice last year and once this year to spur usage. “We need to continue to grow in order to support the usage need and the coverage need. There will be a requirement for investment in coverage, in capacity as well as in technology advancement,” Wijesuriya told Reuters.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Airtel India takes major step towards transforming Airtel from just a telecom brand to a lifestyle enabler

















Airtel makes its television debut - Set to redefine home entertainment with Airtel digital TV

• Airtel digital TV to be available in 62 cities in first phase
• MPEG4 standard with DVB S2 technology offers high audio, video quality and ensures system in HD ready
• For the first time a universal remote for both Set Top Box and TV to offer enhanced customer convenience
• Wide range of channels and interactive applications
• 20% larger dish antenna offers better performance during rains

New Delhi, October 7, 2008: Bharti Airtel Limited today announced the launch of Airtel digital TV , its Direct To Home (DTH) Satellite TV service. Airtel digital TV, which is a perfect blend of latest technology, unique features, and great content, promises to redefine the digital home entertainment experience. The service will be available to customers through 21,000 retail points including Airtel Relationship Centres in 62 cities across the country starting October 9, 2008 .

On the occasion, Mr. Manoj Kohli, CEO and Jt. MD, Bharti Airtel, said, “Today we are starting a new chapter in our journey, one that adds a new dimension to our existing product portfolio and is a major step towards transforming Airtel from just a telecom brand to a lifestyle enabler. The launch of Airtel digital TV is the culmination of our three screens strategy, which is to be present across mobile phone, computer and TV screens.”

Mr. Atul Bindal, President - Telemedia Services, Bharti Airtel, added, “We believe that the Indian DTH segment offers immense growth potential going forward. Given our deep understanding of Indian customer, we believe that Airtel has created an excellent product offering. With added benefits of Airtel's strong brand equity and wide distribution network, we are well placed to emerge as a leading player in this segment.”

Airtel digital TV uses the latest MPEG4 standard with DVB S2 technology, which translates i nto exceptional picture clarity and consistent high quality audio for the customer. This latest technology also enables delivery of more complex interactive content and is High Definition ready. Also, Airtel digital TV uses 20% larger dish antenna that offers better performance during rain.

Besides the latest technology, Airtel digital TV brings many firsts to the DTH segment in India :

  • Universal remote for both Set Top Box and TV that offers enhanced viewer convenience;
  • Highest Set Top Box memory enabling more interactive applications;
  • Exclusive content such as World space Radio;
  • Interactive applications such as iMatinee (Book cinema tickets), iTravel (Browse and book travel packages), iShop (Shop on TV for your favorite brands), iCity (Get your city's information) and Widgets (Update yourself on latest stock news). 8 screen iNews, 2 / 4 screen iSports .
  • Amazing games with high quality graphics, refreshed every 6 weeks
  • Audio gain control for uniform audio levels across all channels
  • Simple and intuitive search
  • On screen account meter
  • Last viewed channel in case of power disruption/switch off
  • Low battery indicator on the screen

These great viewing experience and unique features are backed by 24x7 customer care available in 8 different languages and a team of 800 professionally trained service engineers.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Airtel appoints Madison Media for Sri Lanka

As Airtel India’s largest mobile service operator gets ready to launch in Sri Lanka it has announced the appointment of Madison Media, Sri Lanka as its Media AOR in Sri Lanka.

Madison Media is the AOR for Airtel in India and also the AOR for other Bharti group companies like Bharti AXA Life Insurance, Bharti AXA Mutual Fund, Bharti DTH and Bharti Retail.

Airtel evaluated only 2 agencies in Sri Lanka – Mindshare and Madison and chose Madison after hearing presentations from both in Sri Lanka 3 weeks ago.

Mr. Gopal Vittal, Director Marketing & Communications, Airtel, said, “Madison Media has been a strong partner and has played a part in Airtel’s success story in India and we are confident that they will extend the same strong support in Sri Lanka too and deliver all that it takes to make us succeed there.”

Says
Mr. Sam Balsara, Chairman & Managing Director, Madison World, “We are delighted on hearing Airtel’s decision and are confident that the Madison Way in Media will work in Sri Lanka too. If P&G gave us a head start in Media in India, Airtel is doing that in Sri Lanka.”

Last March, Madison Media won a Valuable Partner Award from Airtel, in the Category of Marketing Support from among 5 contestants.

Airtel, rated among the best performing companies in the world in the BusinessWeek IT 100 list 2007, was awarded last year, the license to provide 2G and 3G mobile services in Sri Lanka. The company announced its commitment to invest approximately USD 200 million in setting up and expanding its operation in the country over the next five years.
Airtel continues to be the most preferred mobile services brand, in the world's fastest growing telecom market, adding over 2 million new customers every month.

Madison Media is India’s largest independent Media group dealing with large multinational clients like P&G, Coca Cola, Cadbury and General Motors and large Indian clients like Godrej, Marico, TVS and Essel group among others, with a billing of over Rs 1300 crores in traditional Media alone excluding Outdoor.

Madison Media is a part of Madison World, which also has specialist Units in Creative, Outdoor, PR, Retail, Rural, Entertainment, Mobile and Sports, employing over 500 Communication professionals.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Amali Nanayakkara










Amali Nanayakkara

The CEO of Bharti Airtel Lanka Ltd.

Bharti Airtel, Asia’s leading integrated telecommunication service provider, appointed Amali Nanayakkara as Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Airtel Lanka Pvt. Ltd. A seasoned professional with in-depth experience in the domestic consumer industry, Amali will spearhead Airtel’s operations in Sri Lanka. This is the second senior level appointment in the organization following the recent appointment of Mr. Olof Haag as the Chairman and Country Head, Bharti Airtel Lanka Pvt. Ltd.


Commenting on Amali’s appointment, Mr. Sanjay Kapoor, President, Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel Limited said “We are delighted to have Amali on board for our operations in Sri Lanka. With her extensive experience in the consumer market, we are confident that she will play a vital role in our endeavour to provide world-class telecom services to the customers and become a leading player in the Sri Lankan market.’’


Amali comes with over two decades of experience in general management. She began her career as a management trainee at Unilever Sri Lanka in 1988 and has worked in various capacities across different functions including Personal Care and Foods Division. Amali has been credited with handling some of the most powerful household brands at Unilever that include Sunsilk, Lifebuoy, Pears, Astra, Ceylonta and Laojee. Her tenure at Unilever also included a secondment to Unilever Pakistan as Marketing Manager for its flagship brand Lux.


Prior to joining Bharti Airtel, Amali was working with Unilever Sri Lanka as Director Marketing in the Personal Care Division. A graduate from the University of Colombo, Amali is an Associate Member of the Association of Accounting Technicians of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing. During her tenure at Unilever, Amali also lead a tsunami relief project across various locations in Sri Lanka.


Bharti Airtel Limited, a group company of Bharti Enterprises, is India’s leading integrated telecom services provider with an aggregate of over 75 million customers. Bharti Airtel has been rated among the best performing companies in the world in the Business Week IT 100 list 2007.
Bharti Airtel is structured into three strategic business units - Mobile services, Broadband and Telephone (B&T) services and Enterprise services. The mobile business provides mobile and fixed wireless services using GSM technology across 23 telecom circles. The B&T business provides broadband and telephone services in 94 cities.


The Enterprise services provide end-to-end telecom solutions to corporate customers and national and international long distance services to carriers. All these services are provided under the Airtel brand. Airtel’s high-speed fibre optic network currently spans over 53,000 kms covering all the major cities in the country. The company has two international landing stations in Chennai that connects two submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Europe.