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Airtel launches Blackberry mobile phone with instant e-mail facility

20-October-2004
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Airtel launches Blackberry mobile phone with instant e-mail facility

This is certain to become the new standard for mobile telephony. Airtel on Tuesday launched a device called Blackberry, under a licensing arrangement between Bharti Tele-Ventures and Canada-based Research In Motion (RIM), which has instant e-mail facility. The Blackberry handset is initially being targeted at the corporate users.

As Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Group Managing Director, Bharti Tele-Ventures, said, Blackberry would provide customers with a highly secure and integrated wireless access solution. “Airtel customers would now be able to access a range of applications on their mobile phones including instant e-mail, corporate data management, Net surfing and personal information management (PIM) features alongside the usual mobile telephone features.”

Blackberry enables the user to send and receive e-mails simply at the press of a button – which is much faster than the normal palm-top computers. The device gives instant e-mail alerts and is compatible with multiple mail accounts. Supported by latest data management technology, the handset helps the user keep record of all his important data and a bank of sent and received e-mail messages.

Speaking on the launch, Mittal said Airtel customers are all set to join the company of 1.7 million Blackberry users worldwide. To promote the service, Airtel provides its customers a choice of three internationally successful Blackberry handset models to choose from – 7730, 7230 and 6230. The handsets come with price tags ranging from Rs 18,990 to Rs 32,990. The cost of the service, depending on the usage and calling pattern, will range from Rs 1,799 to Rs 2,799. With 18 Airtel mobile networks currently operational with GPRS facility, customers can buy the Blackberry handsets in Delhi, Coimbatore, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Cochin, Lucknow and Jaipur. To serve customers using the Blackberry handsets, a special technical and sales team and a support team have been deployed in all the 13 cities.

Dwelling on the latest offering, Mittal said, “The convergent solution will change the way Indian business leaders and SMEs manage business communications and their lives.”

Don Morrison, Chief Operating Officer, RIM, said India and China were the largest potential markets for Blackberry sets in Asia. “With Blackberry, enterprise customers, SMEs and executives will now be able to enjoy instant e-mail facility, mobile telephony, SMS, connected organiser, Internet surfing and corporate data access,” said Morrison. The firm has inked an exclusive tie-up with Bharti for a specified period in India, he informed. RIM will get a license fee for every Blackberry set sold.

Referring to the promotional aspect, Deepak Jolly, Director, Corporate Communications, said, “The latest ad campaigns on the new service would hit media in the coming few weeks. These will effectively communicate the message of how the Blackberry is advantageous for Indian corporates.”

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