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By mbendre Posted in Uncategorized

Update on 11 digit mobile numbers

Well I have written in my earlier post that India might get 11 digit mobile numbers in 2010. (you can read it at http://wp.me/pHVsg-i) however the DoT has come up with a workaround. There wont be a 11 digit mobile number for mobile, however the fixed line numbers will get a extra digit. The logic behind this is that the mobile users are much higher than the landline users so it is better to change the landline numbers.

Cheers
Mahesh

mobile startups targetting Bottom of Pyramid

Now everybody is writing about end of a decade and end of year and there are lots of posts doing rounds about the best and the worst of last decade or last year. So I thought why not make a list of new startups that I liked. The difference in these start ups is that they are not generating applications for swanky i-phone or blackberry but for common man.

So here are the list of few mobile startups which I found interesting.
1) Voice Tap :- In short if one has to describe this service, It’s search engine over phone or chat.
One need to register with voicetap for free and ask for a query. Voice Tap will show the list of 5 experts for you. Select on of them and ask your query.
The expert will answer the query and all this is absolutely FREE.
GREAT ..Isn’t it?
Have a look at voicetap.in

2) SMS One :-
This startup is a bit different from any other. What makes it different is its social initiative. The founder is a college dropout and this startup provides employment opportunity to unemployed in the rural area.
So How does it work ?
Let’s Say I am a 12th fail unemployed youth and have good local contacts. All I need to do is convince huge number of people (say 1000) to receive sms on their mobile for local content (eg. Local news , Local updates etc. ) Once I have the contacts. I will share it SMSONE. SMSONE will provide me with the software ad training to operate the software. I will push the local news with local advertisement.
Thus I earn money from advertisements and the end user gets information for free of cost.
Please visit the website www.smsone.in It’s worth a look.
They have many other interesting service offerings

3) Reuters Market Light :
This a company which is a subsidiary of Reuters Thomson and also works in rural India. This service provides weather updates, Local Mandi news. Latest prices of crops etc.
However it comes at a cost 50 to 60 rupees per month. They have tied up with Idea cellular for Krishi cards. They have tied up with Adhaar Retail Stores (A future Group Company) for the sale of such cards.
Reliance and Tata Indicom have also launched similar services and it is priced competitively.
3) BEEP :-
So if I have to use an application on my phone either I have to pay or at the max it’s free. But nobody pays me. That’s bad …right ?
Here is a service which will pay you for downloading it’s application.
Beep is a software which you need to download on your phone and you get 100 rupees talk time between airtel to airtel. All it does is deliver you advertisements on your mobile.
This service is currently available in Hyderabad. Well I hope that they launch it in other cities as well. So that everybody can enjoy their services.

I will stop today with these three interesting startups. Keep reading for more…

Regards
Mahesh

Browse Internet with Blackberry without BIS

Browsing internet on Blackberry without a special pack from an operator

So you bought a new blackberry. Cool ha! Now you want to do all the possible things with your blackberry. Check your mail, browse internet, etc.etc.. So how do I configure internet on my blackberry.


I wanted to do the same. I had GPRS activated on my number however I was unable to browse internet from my blackberry. It used to give me a message “Check your Wi-Fi connection “. So I called up the customer care and the representative told me, ”You CAN NOT browse internet on blackberry with normal GPRS, you have to buy a special data pack only then I will be able to use internet on blackberry. I said,”what nonsense? I have a device with capability to connect to internet. Only thing that I need is connectivity. So why not GPRS?” Strange, so I started looking on the internet for all the possible way to browse the internet with GPRS and I found a workaround.
Let’s go slow here. First of all let me tell you what you need to do first.
1 – You need to go to Menu – Manage connections – Mobile Network
It will ask you for the APN name & Password. You can get the APN name and password from your provider. (For Airtel ; APN Name :- Airtel Password :- leave it blank)
Once you are done with this. You need to turn on your GPRS connection.
Now go to your computer. Download “Opera mini” browser on your desktop
Transfer it to your Blackberry
You will find it under downloads
Install it.
From here onwards ,whenever you want to browse the internet .Just open the opera connect with GPRS and you can browse the web.

However on the flipside, you can not watch videos like you tube or google videos with the help of Opera.
Checking Emails on Blackberry :-
The other thing that you would like to do is to check you emails on blackberry. Well if you want to check the gmail you can download the Gmail application for blackberry for free http://www.google.com/mobile/products/mail.html#p=default .

Well if you want to check the corporate email on blackberry without paying for extra blackberry data plan to your mobile operator then you can download Funambol from http://www.funambol.com/. This is a 90 days free trial. I don’t know how much they charge after that, but its worth a try.

Other applications that I found worth downloading are
1)Google Mobile App:- Gives you the power to access all the google services at one place.
2)Google Maps:- Well you can access it from google mobile app. However if you are a frequent traveler and needs to go to maps regularly. It’s good to find directions with this app
3) File Scout: -So you want a explorer so that you can access all your files the windows way. Well this application solves the problem.
That’s it for now. Will keep you posted if I find anything new. Till then happy browsing on your blackberry and lets tell the operators that they can not full us with anything.

Cheers
Mahesh

Chetan Bhagat, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and 3 idiots

In my yesterday’s post I wrote a lot fo good things about the digital marketing done by 3 idiots.  One good thing was, there was no negativity attached to the publicity.
V/S
However I can not say so today. Yesterday Vidhu Vinod Chopra blasted on reporters when questioned about the rewards that he offered to Chetan Bhagat (The author of 3 idiots) . Chetan Bhagat said that he was allowed to read the changed script and the script of the movie is much different than what he wrote. Amir said that Chetan met him during the shooting of 3 idiots and told Amir not to read Five Point Someone as there is a huge difference in both the scripts.

Its very confusing. why everybody is doing such a nonsense thing. You know what I feel?

IT’S SIMPLY A STUNT MARKETING.

Now the people who have read Five Point Someone had already watched the movie. So the challenge is how do I keep the crowd coming? You just have few days to get the business may be a week of at the max 2 weeks. So one needs to keep the buzz going.

So after this controversy, lot of people will read  Five Point Someone, if they dont read they will discuss with somebody who has read the book and will go and watch the movie in theater. I think this is the game plan of “3 idiots”team. Remember they are not idiots to fight in public.

That’s what I feel and I feel it strongly. what do you feel ?

Post your comments 🙂

Regards

Mahesh

3 idiots “Aaal is well “ digital marketing

First let me wish all of you a very happy new year and may god shower all his blessings on you.


On New Year eve I watched 3 idiots. What a good way to celebrate New Year  .Anyways the movie is good. However the readers of Five Point Someone (A novel on which the movie is based) will be a little disappointed as it has some bollywood masala which I personally did not enjoy. Anyways I am not a Khalid Mohammed to write a movie review.
What I liked about the movie is its promotional strategy. I think one bollywood movie which has used technology to maximum extent in its promotions is “3 idiots”. So what did the “3 idiots” team did different.
1) As any other movie they have tied up mobile companies for ringtones wall papers etc. (Not so impressive huh..)
2) They tied up with Zapak for digital marketing. The official website for “3 idiots” is http://www.idiotsacademy.zapak.com The website is amazing. One can go to the classroom and upload photo and attend lectures. Visit the washroom and write something on wall. Go to lab to watch movie trailers. There is an exam as well and if you answer three wrong questions, you fail in exam. Only 3 ATKTs are allowed . (Isn’t that unfair ?  )
Overall its fun. If you have not visited it yet. Please do visit it
3) If you go to Zapak website you can play a game in which Amir Khan travels all over India doing crazy things. When you play this game there is an engagement created with the character.
4) There is a profile by the name “Amir khan, The Pucca idiot” on facebook. You can post on the wall, become a fan and some users get opportunity to chat with Amir.
5) The last and the thing which I most liked about the promotional campaign is what they did on Twitter. An hashtag was created on twitter with Amir khan’s name. People who wanted to chat with Amir sent the tweets to hashtag Amir. The replies were published on each individual’s post and followers of that individuals retweeted it. This created a wave of the traffic. Let’s say I am not interested in Amir Khan. However as the post appeared on somebody’s post, whom I follow. I clicked on it, read it and retweeted it because its my friend who is chatting with Amir khan. Amazing … I really liked it. Watch the video below.

So what happened after all these efforts? Well the movie was able to generate 100 crores in the first five days. Great isn’t it.
One more coincidence that I noticed is 1)BIG Cinemas who is distributing the movie 2) Zapak.com who is doing digital marketing 3) Reliance Life Insurance who is using “Aaal is well” are all Reliance ADAG companies.

Smart move by “3 idiots” team.Is Bollywood listening ?

Regards
Mahesh

Open an account at a PCO shop — myth or realty ?

Well, so in my earlier post I wrote that telecom operators might be issues a banking license and we might see Telecom operators in the banking sector. However the RBI has different thought process. RBI feels if the mobile operators are start carrying out csh transactions then there will be a alternate channel for the money to flow. As the mobile operators are well known for not following KYC norms, there is a he possibility that it might lead to unfair means of money transfers at the same time there is a possibility of customer’s data being misused.
On the contrary, RBI is planning to appoint Kirana stores, PCO operators, retired teachers as banking agents. These agents will be selected on certain criteria such as past experience on cash flow handling, past record etc. Now how these agents are going to carry out these transactions? Obviously with the help of technology. One model which is already existent with the help of companies such as FINO or a little world. These companies provide technology platform to banks and helps them cater to the rural areas where formal banking channels are not available. A smart card is issued to the rural consumer & a no frill account is opened with the bank. Whenever the person need to deposit/withdraw cash the consumer can go to the designated bank agent and place his smart card on the machine available with the vendor. Once the card is placed on the machine he can see his account details. The money is given to the agent and it reaches the bank through collection agents.
So everybody has access to the bank. Going forward the same services can be availed with the help of mobile phones provided the issues such as encryption of sms and other security issues are addressed. In India many people like to check their account balance from phone.
One thing which has remained common in the world is that technology can not drive the market however the market drives the technology. In many countries internet banking was a boom, however in India compared to internet banking, mobile banking is finding more application and uses.
So hoe this model works will totally depend upon the acceptance at the grass root level. With the poor broadband penetration, one thing is sure the connectivity will be wireless.
Regards
Mahesh

11 digit mobile number- a new year gift ?

Soon India will be the one of the few countries to have 11 digit mobile numbers. According to an interim note issued by DoT on 26 Nov 2009 the national numbering plan issued in 2003 is amended for migration of 10 digit number to 11 digit number. A “9” will be prefixed to the existing numbers. Dot wants the 11 digit numbers to be implemented by 1st Jan 2010. However the many mobile operators say it will be very difficult to implement this plan in such a short time. Mobile operators need to make a lot of technological changes in their infrastructure.
Now why did the Dot have to take decision to change the mobile numbers from 10 digit to 11 digit?
The numbering plan was fixed in 2003. This plan was fixed for 27 years i.e. till 2030. the plan was fixed under the assumption that India will reach 500 million subscribers by 2025. However we have already touched a total subscriber base of 500 million and approximately India is adding on an average 15 million subscribers every month.
Now under the current numbering plan a maximum of 1 billion subscribers can be accommodated. Considering the current growth in subscribers India will reach 1 billion subscribers in 2-3 years and after that no mobile operator can offer a new connection.
However if India makes the mobile number 11 digit then India can issue unique mobile numbers to 10 billion connections.
So if the telecom operators need to hurry up now and make changes in their software and network configurations. Soon we will have new players in the market, which will make competition fiercer and it will definitely increase the mobile penetration. However if the implementation of this technology is delayed then we will have to face the old days where we have to wait for the new SIM card for days and at times buy SIM cards in black.
Let’s hope for the best and lets wait for 1st Jan 2010.

By mbendre Posted in Uncategorized

26/11 and mobile technology

I am writing this article in the wake of 26th November or 26/11.This day has gained name of Black Wednesday in the history of India. On this day last year terror attacks were made in Mumbai. Close to 175 civilians lost their lives, 12 policemen and 2 NSG commandos became martyrs.
Technology has made our life very convenient however if technology is not used in a proper way. It can also create disastrous effects.
I was watching a documentary on 26/11 on Discovery channel, it was really insightful how the technology helped few of the people to rescue or get in touch with the outside world. People were able to see live news which was shown live on the television. They had timely updates on what actions are being taken to rescue them. One of the users got the map of Taj hotel in Mumbai from web so that he knew where he is and what path he should take to get out.
On the flip side one of the politician who was caught inside the Taj Mahal Hotel, gave interview form his mobile phone to a news channel and talked about where he is hiding out with many other people. The news was published live on television channel and unfortunately the terrorists were also using technology to the maximum extent and came to know about the whereabouts of the hiding people. This mistake had cost many people their lives.

Prior to the terrorists in 26/11 attacks made calls from mobile number 09910719124 from a Nokia Phone. The Nokia phones were sourced from China to Pakistan and then to India. The number has been taken in Delhi in the name of Mr. Suresh Prasad. Even after so many details available. The police is not able to track down the person who has taken this mobile number. Today the telecom operators have to comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) norm where they are supposed to take the necessary documents form the user however the person who took the above mentioned mobile number furnished fake documents. So the mobile retailer can not do much about it.
However there are various cases where the mobile operators are not complying with the norm specified by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) or DoT (Department of Telecom). Recently leading telecom operators were fined by DoT for not following KYC norms in the state of Jammu & Kashmir and Orissa.
So when are we going to get serious about these norms or when we will be able to bridge the loop holes in the process?
May be the new system being developed with the help of Mr.Nandan Nilekani which gives a unique number to each citizen of India will help. It will be similar to SSN (Social Security Number) in USA. Thus all the transactions made by person can be identified.
So let’s hope for a better tomorrow & better technology use.

Regards
Mahesh

By mbendre Posted in Uncategorized