mid-week Telco Buzz: Airtel launches mobile money transfer, RCom goes for banner ads, Intl calls from coin PCOs…and more..

Bharti Airtel to offer mobile money transfer
Airtel is all set to launch host of value-added services, primarily related to M-commerce applications.Mobile money transfer, when introduced, is set to revolutionize the industry as it holds a slew of advantages when compared to the traditional method—from lower transaction costs to ease of use. Millions of migrant workers within India and expatriate workers of Indian origin globally will gain from the service—India is the biggest recipient of overseas remittances in the world and accounts for around 10% of the world market. For instance, as per the World Bank estimates, Indian expatriates remitted over $22 billion in 2005.

Bharti Airtel and IBM are also working together to create the ‘Mobile Wallet’ that will turn your mobile phone into a credit card and also offer you a host of other services, including that of a navigator device for location-based services such as accessing maps, information, and directions.

RCom to use mobile banner ads to get across TRAI’s DNC
RCom is putting up banner advertisements on its data suite of applications – Reliance Mobile World – accessible over the company’s handsets. When a user clicks on the advertisements, a lead is generated which is passed on to the advertiser for a follow-up. [Read our earlier coverage of SMS 2.0, i.e. Airtel/Affle partnership).

Make intl calls from coin-operated PCOs
Now onwards, one can call anywhere in the world from a coin-operated public call office (PCO). The country had around 5.55 million PCOs as on March 31, 2007, an increase from 4.5 million PCOs in service as on June 30, 2006. BSNL, with 2.11 million is the largest provider of PCO services as on March 2007,

ISPs await nod for voice calls to fixed, wireless phones
Around 40 Internet service providers in the country, led by firms such as Sify Ltd, Net4India Ltd, Ortel Communications Ltd and CJ Online Ltd, are awaiting government approval to start offering voice calls from their networks to fixed and wireless phone networks.

RCom to foray into mobile retailing
Branded Mobi-Retail, this service will be offered to the 35 million subscribers of Reliance Communications, who will be able to use their handsets to buy over 100,000 products ranging from fresh vegetables to groceries, readymade garments, toys and electronics. The consumer can either take home delivery or pick up products from a delivery point. The group will leverage over 300,000 outlets in 10,000 towns in formats like Reliance World, Reliance World Express, Reliance Money, Reliance Insurance, Big Flicks, and Adlabs as the delivery points.

[Market Reports] Telecom spectrum more an issue in metros
Non-availability of spectrum, though a problem in metros, may not be an issue in smaller cities that are high-growth areas for telecom, a Morgan Stanley study. The estimated average penetration in the metros is 66% as compared to 17.8% for India, 21% for Class A, 15% for Class B and 9% for Class C circles. According to the study, the subscriber base in metros may go down. “Metros contributed 31% of the subscriber base in FY-04, but this has gone down to 18% in August 2007.”

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