Business Standard

Sreelatha Menon: Some positive 2G

Telecom operators are offering multiple services to woo rural markets

Related News

As and create a chaos of tapes, the mobile operators are busy luring consumers in the countryside with multiple services.

Connectivity is basic to change in rural areas and the operators are providing just that, plus a little bit extra in the name of corporate social responsibility. It gives them an identity and ensures a share of the rural market that all industries are eyeing.

Uninor, one of the new entrants, has tied up with an NGO, Hand In Hand, to help women set up computer training and multiple service centres. These centres provide SIM cards and phone connections to customers, besides giving people training in computer applications.

Hand in Hand has been doing this in Tamil Nadu for long. Now, it has got a partner in Uninor.

Women entrepreneurs in villages invest close to Rs one lakh by taking credit from the NGO, which also acts as a microfinance institution. Those women who have studied till at least Class X are making a beeline to open computer centres.

Vice-President says they are providing connectivity and helping with the training. The project, selected for funding by the Cherie Blair Foundation, is expanding to Orissa, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. So far, 550 centres have been set up in Tamil Nadu, providing work to as many women entrepreneurs, most of whom are members of self-help groups formed by the NGO, says Hand in Hand Director Deepmala.

has formed a joint venture company with Iffco called Iffco Kisan Sanchar Ltd which plans to offer free voice updates on mandi prices, farming techniques, weather and fertiliser availability to farmers. In addition, a farmer will be able to call a dedicated helpline, manned by experts from various fields, for answers to his queries.

Airtel will also allow farmers under the scheme to call each other at 50 paise a minute. It has already enrolled over 48,000 farmers.

Bharti Chairman and Managing Director has said that Airtel wants to be the top rural telecom brand and the rural market will be worth Rs 40,000 crore with a population of 800 million in a few years.

Tata Indicom, under a project called Nano Ganesh, plans to help farmers operate irrigation pumps from remote locations. Under the service, a farmer has to buy a Tata Indicom mobile connection and a mobile modem that will be attached to the starter of the pump set. The farmer can remote-control the switch using an assigned code. He can also check availability of electricity with the instrument. The subscriber has to pay Rs 2,700 for the device, besides charges for a normal handset. There is no charge for calls to the pump.

Tata Indicom is also offering a mobile education programme in rural areas in partnership with SNDT Women’s University, Atom Tech (Any Transaction on Mobile), Mumbai, and Indian PCO Teleservices Ltd. It helps participants access educational content and take mock tests. SNDT University will develop the content, Atom Tech will provide the interface, while Tata Tele will be the carrier. Reliance Communication has launched Live Mandi in collaboration with commoditiescontrol.com, a mobile service through which farmers can get real-time prices of commodities on their mobiles. The service is available on Reliance’s GPRS portal, Reliance Mobile World, accessible in 10,000 towns and 300,000 villages.

That is some positive 2G and 3G.

Read more on:   
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|
|

Read More

Shankar Acharya: Macroeconomic context and Budget

Budget 2013-14 may manage to control the fiscal deficit, but pushing growth and fixing the current account deficit are another matter

Most Popular Columns

Arvind Panagariya

Arvind Panagariya: How we shoot ourselves in the foot
Arvind Panagariya

The government has not acted to end tax terrorism, which means the 'Make in India' campaign is in jeopardy

Sunil Sethi

Sunil Sethi: Why a little learning is dangerous
Sunil Sethi

Two living exemplars of the phrase in recent days are Smriti Irani and Zameeruddin Shah, for their ill-judged and obsolete ideas on education and ...

T N Ninan

T N Ninan: Sarkari creativity
T N Ninan

Visitors from less privileged cities marvel at the broad avenues and splendid greens that mark the colonial heart of the capital

Advertisement

Columnists

Nitin Pai

Nitin Pai: The new Cuba?
Nitin Pai

A Chinese company with military links is building a canal across Nicaragua

Abheek Barua & Bidisha Ganguly

Abheek Barua & Bidisha Ganguly: Do the Saudis want low oil prices?
Abheek Barua & Bidisha Ganguly

Saudi Arabia's deep pockets and a strong financial system could help the country to ride out a low-price environment in order to protect its ...

Noah Smith

Noah Smith: Economics is a dismal science for women
Noah Smith

Forget anecdotes, there is quantitative evidence showing that economics is uniquely biased against women

Back to Top