Kolkata, October 15, 2004: Bharti Cellular Limited, a subsidiary of Bharti Tele-Ventures, one of India’s leading telecom conglomerate, today announced the launch of Airtel mobile service in West Bengal. Airtel is the sub-continent’s best* and the largest GSM mobile service in the country, with more than 8.7 million customers. The launch of Airtel in West Bengal will provide more choice to customers and heralds the beginning of a new era in mobile service in the region.
With the launch in West Bengal, Airtel becomes the first private mobile service to offer seamless coverage in the entire state. Also, with the launch of services in over 100 towns of West Bengal and Sikkim, riding on 150 cell sites, Airtel now has the largest mobile network in the state of West Bengal & Sikkim (Kolkata included). After the launch in West Bengal today, Bharti’s mobile footprint now extends to 18 out of the 23 mobile circles in the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Rajan Bharti Mittal, Joint Managing Director, Bharti Tele-Ventures Ltd., said, “Airtel was the only Indian telecom company to be nominated at the World Communications Award for the best brand and also for the best mobile operator. Airtel finally won the world’s best telecom brand award. I am happy to bring to West Bengal, the same world-class network backed by a slew of unique benefits, which is surely going to redefine the mobile experience of all our customers in the region.”
On the occasion of the launch of Airtel mobile services in West Bengal Telecom Circle, Mr. Deepak Gulati, Chief Executive Officer – Eastern Region, Bharti Cellular Ltd. said, “Today is a historic moment for us in Airtel as with the successful rollout of services, we now unify residents of 2 circles with unique benefits from the largest GSM mobile operator in the country. We intend to bring to West Bengal the same service experience and benefits, which has made Airtel India’s largest GSM mobile service.”
AIRTEL TO REVOLUTIONIZE THE MOBILE CATEGORY
Airtel – Phase I Rollout
In phase I, Airtel is launching its services in 104 key cities and towns of the region covering all major highways, rail routes and hill stations. Some of these include Siliguri, Raiganj, Maldah, Behrampur, Burdman, Durgapur, Asansol, Haldia, Bolpur, Bankura, Mednipore, Kharagpur and Purulia. In phase II, Airtel is expected to launch its services in another 50 towns by March ‘05.
Airtel – A world-class network
Airtel will be operating on the 900 MHz spectrum band and is launching its services with over 150 cell sites, which is expected to be scaled upto 200 sites shortly. This will bring to the two states unmatched connectivity on a congestion free 2.5G, GPRS network with superior voice clarity. The state-of-the-art mobile infrastructure has been deployed and will be managed by Siemens, world leaders in mobile technology. The network has superior processors to handle calls, reduce network congestion, enable better call completion rate and increase efficiency. For a brief period, BSNL customers in Krishnanagar, Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri and Sikkim will need to prefix ‘0’ while calling an Airtel mobile. Airtel mobile customers can however call all BSNL customers across the two states from day one.
Launches Airtel Pre-paid
Airtel has also launched Airtel pre-paid, one of India’s leading pre-paid card at only Rs. 199/-. Given that pre-paid has been a catalyst of steep growth in the mobile industry, Airtel pre-paid with its innovative value added services is set to revolutionize the mobile segment in West Bengal. These includes pre-activated STD and ISD, GPRS and MMS services, widest 2 way national roaming, instant on screen balance, missed call alert etc. Airtel customers will benefit from Airtel’s unique Easy Charge service, which enables a customer to recharge anytime, anywhere and for any denomination above Rs. 60/-
Airtel’s Pre-paid offering is based on the Intelligent Network (IN) platform, which will bring to the two states a host of superior value-added services.
Investment of more than Rs. 100 crores in the current fiscal in West Bengal and Sikkim
Airtel will be investing Rs. 100 crore in West Bengal mobile circle on the infrastructure and rollout of services in the current fiscal. Given that telecom is a core infrastructure area, this should further aid the growth & development of the state’s economy.
Never-before benefits that leverage Bharti’s national footprint for Prepaid and Postpaid customers across Bengal
Bundled Handset offer with Samsung E800
Airtel also announced a bundled handset offer with the recently launched Samsung E800 for Postpaid customers. Samsung E800 is the first GSM handset which is compatible with the Bengali language and script. The details of the offer would be announced shortly.
Airtel customers in both Kolkata and West Bengal can call each other at just Re. 1/- per minute from their home networks. This special promotion offer is applicable to all Airtel to Airtel STD calls between Kolkata and rest of Bengal for both Prepaid and Postpaid customers.
Airtel – Customised products and services
Airtel is offering a slew of products and services from the very first day of the launch of services. Some of these include:
a)Airtel Live – A multi access entertainment portal on the mobile with the most comprehensive content in the spheres of movies, music, sports and mobile games. Properties, which can be experienced and downloaded, include games, color wallpapers, video clips, polyphonic ringtones, music messages, jokes, news, stock tickers etc. Content on Airtel Live can be accessed through voice (by dialing 646), SMS (sending keyword to 646), GPRS (Airtel Live mobile portal) or the web (http://www.airtelworld.com/)
b) Hello Tunes – Airtel’s Ring back tone service, Hello Tunes, is an exclusive and personalized mobile music service where the caller hears songs and other sound clips instead of the traditional switchboard “ring-ring” tone. Customers can choose from a collection of Bengali, English and Hindi amongst others.
c) Widest roaming coverage nationally and internationally - As a result of the largest spread across 18 circles in India, Airtel offers its customers of staying connected with their near and dear ones across 3800 towns in India. Airtel also offers the largest international roaming coverage across 125 countries and 250 networks across the globe.
d) Missed call alert - 'Never Miss a Call on your Airtel’ - An innovative service from Airtel, the customer is informed about the calls that he or she missed when their phone was either switched off or not reachable.
e) Easy Bill – 1st time in Bengal, Airtel’s state-of-the-art billing system not only makes sure bills are easy to read but also ensures error free billing.
f) Choice of Number – Airtel offers its customers the freedom to choose their own lucky number for a connection for oneself or even for another member within the family
g) GPRS and MMS – Customers can receive instant access to the internet from their mobile phones through their Airtel GPRS services or send colored picture messages with sound clips via the Airtel Multimedia Messaging service. With the launch of GPRS services, Airtel will be the 1st operator to offer GPRS services on GSM in the state. Airtel is targeting to offer attractive benefits on GPRS for its customers.
h) M-Bill –Customers can know their bills even before receiving them. All information is available via a mini statement on SMS giving details of current charges, total amount due and payment due date.
i) Power of 32K Sim – Airtel’s 32K Sim is one of India’s most powerful simcard that offers customers host of facilities in a convenient way. It enables customers to save upto 250 numbers in the phone book and upto 30 messages in the inbox.
j) Friendly 24 hr Customer Care – Airtel believes in delighting customers at every step for a total mobile experience and over 8.7 million happy customers across the country bear testimony to it. Only Airtel provides a national call center number 121where its call center can be reached.
K) Airtel Relationship Centers – 11 Airtel Relationship Centers located in the towns of Asansol, Behrampore, Bardhaman, Darjeeling, Durgapur, Haldia, Kharagpur, Maldah, Raniganj and Siliguri will provide a one-stop solution to all needs and queries of its customers. Equipped with high-speed robust connectivity with the backend, the Airtel Relationship Centers are staffed with well-trained personnel who aim to delight existing and prospective customers.
Bharti Tele-Ventures is one of India’s leading private sector provider of tele-communications services with an aggregate of 9.47 million customers as of end of September ‘04, consisting of over 8.7 million mobile customers. The company today offers mobile services in 18 out of 23 circles in India. The company also provides fixed - line services and Internet access over DSL in 5 circles. The company complements its mobile and fixed-line services with national and international long distance services. The company also has a submarine cable landing station at Chennai, which connects the submarine cable connecting Chennai and Singapore. The company provides reliable end-to-end data and enterprise services to the corporate customers by leveraging its nationwide fibre optic backbone, last mile connectivity in fixed-line and mobile circles, VSATs, ISP and international bandwidth access through the gateways and landing station. For more information, visit www.bhartiteleventures.com
*Source: Asia MobileNews
For Further Information:
Shalini Gupta Sarbani Bhattacharya
Bharti Cellular Ltd Sampark PR
Mobile: 98310 49003 Mobile: 98319 40360
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