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MTS & Meru, Aircel & WiFi: mobile carriers pushing data usage

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MTS & Meru, Aircel & WiFi: mobile carriers pushing data usage

The next time you’re on your way back from work in a Meru Cab in Delhi or Mumbai, just ask the driver for an MBlaze USB Internet dongle and you can surf all you want, for free. The tie-up makes a lot of sense actually, since many users are from the business community, travelling with their laptops, and free Internet is always welcome.

For the company, too, this initiative will bring the carrier to the notice of potential target customers, and perhaps convince them to get a dongle themselves.

Leonid Musatov, Chief Marketing Officer, Sistema Shyam Teleservices Ltd (SSTL), said, “At MTS, our endeavor is to constantly excite and delight data users. Our partnership with Meru Cabs has been specially designed to offer seamless data connectivity to users on the go, both in Delhi and in Mumbai.”

At the same time, Aircel has also launched its WiFi Internet services, with over 50,000 WiFi zones across the country. The service, at Rs 15 per hour, will give data speeds of 128 Kbps, but as a downside, has a FUP that limits the download to 30 MB, which seems too small for most users – even sending a few business related documents might exhaust that, while watching movies online is unlikely unless you connect using a mobile device.

The company has already started advertising for the feature on TV as well, and Aircel users can use the service for free till Sunday, and at the same time, the company is also hoping to roll out its 3G services on February 19, 2011.

This service will handle the billing directly on your Aircel number, which solves one of the biggest issues of WiFi hotspots, which is handling the billing as many might not feel comfortable sharing their credit card data over a public WiFi network.

These services, along with the focus on rich media content that all 3G networks are touting, shows that for mobile carriers, data usage might be the most important way to drive usage. Already, carriers like Aircel are giving unlimited Internet access for a day using cheap prepaid cards, and as the prices all hit the bare minimum across networks, companies need to look to monetising data more effectively, by creating services people will find value in.

With the 3G rollout and such innovative ways of bringing the audience to their wireless networks, companies are showing that they have focused on this opportunity, but the key now is on how well they will be able to deliver on their promises.

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