Tata Indicom has launched push-to-talk capable handsets, which allows subscribers to connect instantly with other users of similar handsets.
Tata Teleservices' President for telecom, Mr Amit Bose, told newspersons that that this service will be initially offered as a free `try and buy offer' for corporates in Bangalore.
Unlike mobile phones where calls are routed through the base stations, the push to talk service uses the IP network to connect instantly to the receiver of the call.
The push to talk lets mobile users at the push of a button to speak and listen to each other instantly without dialling and waiting for the call to connect.
However, like a walkie-talkie, the service allows only one-way conversation apart from offering normal features of a mobile handset.
Built on BrewChat technology from Qualcomm, this service on the Kyocera handset enables person-to-person and person-to-group communication between users at the `push of a button.' Mr Bose said the price of the handset with this feature would be around Rs 5,000.
Qualcomm's director for business development, Mr Brian Dunphy, said that within a year this service would be available on both CDMA and GSM-based handsets.
Mr Bose said though initially the services would be free of charge, Tata Telservices might start charging a nominal fee for using this service for both local as well as international calls.
Mr Bose said Tata Teleservices would invest up to Rs 9,000 crore in another two years for expanding its network.
It plans to expand its services to around 1,000 towns by August.
He said the company expects to have a subscriber base of around 10 million by 2005-end.
He said call centres are being established in Pune and Hyderabad.
Mr Bose said that the company plans to launch SIM-card based phones soon.
He said by July Tata Teleservices will offer 10 more handsets.
He said by March 2005 the company expects its market share to grow to 15 per cent from 4 per cent now.
Tata Teleservices currently operates in eight circles and has acquired licenses to operate in 12 more circles.
Qualcomm to set up engg support centre: Qualcomm, which launched an R&D centre for chipsets in Hyderabad, plans to set up an engineering support centre within six months.
"We are looking at various Indian cities for setting up this facility," Mr Dunphy said.
He added that Qualcomm's Internet services already had four such centres in the world, which includes one each in the US, Japan, South Korea and China.