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AirTel strategy to rope in more users in west

Mumbai, Dec. 10: AirTel today unveiled InnoWest — a new strategy to consolidate the western region covering Mumbai, Maharashtra and Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh — in an effort to rustle up the subscriber base and take on its stronger arch rivals.

Bharti Tele Ventures is offering ‘free westroam’, a free inter-state roaming service in the region under the InnoWest scheme.

The company would not collect rentals or deposits under the scheme, while the customer would get free airtime for all incoming calls.

“To begin with, the InnoWest initiative seeks to remove the boundaries of the Western region,” said Manoj Kohli, Bharti Tele-Ventures president (mobility).

“I am confident that it would strengthen our resolve to acquire a leadership position across the entire region,” he added.

According to the November COAI figures, AirTel has close to a million customers in the western region. Its roaming facility is expected to benefit one out of every four AirTel customers in this region.

Customers will now pay only interconnect charges of Rs 2.99 a minute, down from the earlier Rs 6.44 per minute. National and local SMS charges will be a flat 40 paisa. These rates will be applicable only to post-paid customers.

AirTel plans to invest an additional Rs 100 crore in the four western circles by March 2004, taking the foot-print coverage to 304 towns in this region.

It has also come out with a rate saver plan, which offers a 15 per cent discount on calls beyond 2 minutes and 30 per cent on calls of more than 5 minutes.

AirTel has roped in batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador.

Analysts say that Bharti Tele Ventures may introduce this scheme to other circles after gauging the response in the western region.

The cellular service provider offers mobile services in 15 out of 23 circles in India. It also provides fixed-line services in Haryana, Delhi, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

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