The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hutch breaks sounds of silence

New Delhi, April 3: Vikram Dalmiya is an entrepreneur in Calcutta who is visually challenged but uses the mobile extensively for his business.

He cannot, however, use short messaging service (SMS) or avail the facility of reading e-mails on the mobile.

Hutch, the cellular mobile service operator, now has a solution to his problem called unified messaging service (UMS).

UMS, the latest acronym creating all the buzz in the telecom world, holds out hope to all disabled people who cannot SMS as Hutch aims to draw them into the wireless world.

Dalmiya has a plastic manufacturing unit in Calcutta that supplies tubelight and streetlight covers to Philips India. UMS offers the Hutch cellular subscriber the option to listen to an e-mail message or SMS using text-to-speech technology and respond to e-mail with a voice message that will be sent in text form to the recipient.

The new system, to be launched initially in Delhi from Monday, is likely to be available in a couple of months in other cities where the company provides its service. These include cities in Gujarat, Andhra, Karnataka, and Calcutta, Chennai and Mumbai, where Hutch offers its services under the Orange brand. UMS will be offered to post-paid customers in Delhi.

Subscribers who opt for this service will have to pay Rs 149 a month and will be entitled to free service till June 30. UMS will ensure all messages are easily received at a time and in one place by using a single command. Hutch subscribers can use the service without changing their existing handsets.

UMS subscribers will also get to forward the message to another number, view it on a computer, print it or even listen to it on a landline. The service also offers the option of viewing all messages — voice, fax and e-mails — when in office or on the move with the help of a computer.

“Unified messaging, a very simple and easy-to-use service, offers complete convergence for all communication needs of our customers. It will help Hutch customers who are on the move to always be accessible and in-touch with their customers and co-workers, family or friends,” said Rajiv Sawhney, chief executive officer, Hutch Delhi.

“The visually challenged are bound to get the benefit, but we did not launch this product with them in mind. But we will offer any service to the challenged as part of our social corporate philosophy,” he said.

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