The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Goodies for AirTel users

New Delhi, Feb. 12: AirTel today launched multimedia messaging (MMS) free of cost till April and offered full roaming service — both incoming and outgoing calls — on pre-paid cards in all its circles minus Calcutta and Himachal.

Launching the service, Anil Nayar, president (mobility) Bharti Televentures said: “The Calcutta and Himachal pre-paid subscribers will get the full roaming facility soon. There are a few problems and we plan to sort it out soon.” The pre-paid subscribers in these two cities get only free incoming roaming services.

AirTel unveiled the MMS service based on the general packet radio service (GPRS) and a slew of other value-added services through its brand ambassador Kareena Kapoor.

General packet radio service (GPRS) is the first technology that allows packet based, high speed date transmission over a mobile phone. GPRS can combine eight channels to offer transmission speeds of up to 115.2 kilobits per second.

GPRS offers “always connected” feature with users being charged by the bit, rather than by the minute. The new GPRS technology can differentiate data and voice and thus speed up transmission multifold. The user can connect the GPRS handset, which starts at Rs 10,000 and goes up to Rs 40,000, to the home PC, laptop or pocket PC and log on to the internet. GPRS also enables the users to shuttle between regular calls and access data simultaneously.

According to a study by Morgan Stanley, “This technology eliminates the existing 8-10 extra seconds needed to access services offered by the mobile operator or the 30 second wait to access other sites.”

Some of the handsets that can support the GPRS are — Nokia 721, 6610, 8310, 6510, 7650, 3530 and 3651. Sony Ericcson P800, P300, T68i.

Aimed to catch the ongoing World Cup fever, AirTel also launched the voice portal Harsha Mobile similar to the recently launched 646 to download musical ringtones.

However, subscribers beware: this is not free; you pay Rs 4 for each call made to 646 and Harsha Mobile and in addition there is a cost for the content that has to be downloaded.

This service will offer cricket-crazed consumers expert comments from Harsha Bhogle all through the year.

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