Millennium Post

India’s 3G use more than doubles in 2013, beats world average

‘3G services in India have surpassed the world average in terms of growth. However, there are still gaps in 3G coverage even in the top 50 towns. Filling of those network coverage gaps can take up 3G penetration dramatically,’ Nokia Solutions and Networks Vice President and Head of India Region Sandeep Girotra said here.

According to Nokia Solutions and Networks, 3G data usage in India rose to 21 petabytes at the end of December from 8 petabytes at the end of December 2012. One petabyte is equal to 1,024 terabytes. The world average is roughly doubling every year, it said.

Data traffic generated by 2G and 3G services combined grew 87 per cent in the country in 2013, driven largely by strong growth in the faster 3G data, the study said. Nokia Solutions and Networks' ‘Mobile Broadband India Traffic’ study showed that customers in India consumed an average of 532 megabytes of 3G data every month, up 23 per cent from 434 MB in 2012.

The average consumption by 3G users was more than three times that of 2G consumers, which stood at 146 MB per month. Last year, 3G continued to be the main contributor to data growth and increased its share to 43 per cent of total mobile data from 33 per cent in 2012.

The active 3G customer base grew by 50 per cent. The study estimates the number of 3G customers in the country at about 30 million at the end of December 2013 compared with 20 million at the end of 2012. Girotra said there are about 80,000 mobile towers that transmit 3G signals, accounting for 30-40 per cent of coverage in the country and there can be a dramatic increase if coverage goes up to 70-80 per cent. India has about 4,50,000 mobile towers providing 2G services, Girotra said.

‘Even in the top 50 cities by mobile traffic, many cities are not fully covered by 3G and require an additional 20-25 per cent of existing sites for coverage,’ Girotra said. With 4G technology maturing, telecom operators are now looking to deploy 3G equipment that can be upgraded.

‘I expect 3G to be mainstream mobile Internet service for at least 2-3 years, after which we will see a mix of 4G and 3G. 2G, too, will continue in the country,’ Girotra said. Nokia Solutions and Networks at present manages about 1,60,000 mobile towers in the country.

Kotak Mahindra Bank links current accounts to Twitter

Digitally-savvy customers of private lender Kotak Mahindra Bank will soon be able to check their balance and do a host of non-financial services transactions using the microblogging website Twitter. The bank on Wednesday launched a new current account product directed at the younger lot that will enable the account holders to undertake 21 such services like cheque book requisitioning, checking last few transactions, etc, using their Twitter accounts.

‘All you need to do is to use the dedicated hashtags (#) for the activity you want to do. We have integrated all our systems with our core banking software and can seamlessly throw up the required result into the account holder's Twitter handle as a direct message,’ Kotak's consumer banking head KVS Manian told reporters here.

The account christened 'Jifi', also involves a host of loyalty-based reward points accrued from merchant transactions carried out using the account, referrals made and 'sharing and commenting' of tweets/ updates. The reward points — classified as transactional and social — can be redeemed for discounts with select online merchants or also transfered to friends, he said.

The account can be opened by a self-invite either via Facebook or an e-mail, the bank said, adding that existing account holders can also get a new account opened. The bank is starting with 11 cities across the country, which witness a high traction for its online banking facility and will gradually take it to other cities.

‘Since the past one year that we launched the online account opening facility for savings accounts, it is contributing 6-7 per cent of the new accounts. In the next year, I expect the number to go up to 15 per cent,’ he said. Manian, however, did not give an explicit number of accounts it is targeting to get opened under the new account.

Asked for the reasons as to why it chose the current account platform over the savings account, which is generally associated with households, Manian said for the target constituency, the interest of 6 per cent offered on the savings account is not as important as the benefits from the loyalty programme. Manian also said the bank will soon start Aadhar-based e-KYC account opening scheme.

Now, Aircel allows free access to Facebook

Telecom operator Aircel on Wednesday announced launch of a new data product — ‘Facebook for All’ — offering free access to the social media platform for its customers. ‘Under this service, Aircel enables its customers to be socially active on Facebook in nine different languages,’ Aircel (Andhra Pradesh Circle Business Head) Deepinder Tiwana told reporters.

Customers can have free access to Facebook App, Facebook Messenger and Mobile version on their existing or new connections. New customers can enjoy free 50 mb per month data on Facebook for 60 days after activation and existing customers will get free 50 mb data for 30 days.

‘Post-50 MB usage, the subscribers will have the option of using Facebook on their phones at 2 P/10 KB,’ he said. Aircel also introduced Full Talk time at Rs 10 for its prepaid customers. Deepinder said network expansion is a continuous process and the company has 4,500 sites across the AP Circle and will continuously add more sites.
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