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How low can mobile rates go? 29 paise!

Norwegian telecom player straddles India with new cost cutting GSM service Telenor, joins with Indian property king Unitech to launch Uninor across 7 states


Scandinavia’s biggest telecom company, Norway-based Telenor, has entered the fastest growing mobile market in the world. Partnering real estate leader Unitech’s new wireless venture, under the brand Uninor, the company has straddled seven states in what is the world’s biggest ‘greenfield’ footprint for a GSM service launch. The service launched December 4, in 7 telecom circle simultaneously in the circles Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West and Bihar (including Jharkhand).
On Friday, newspapers all over India, (Including normally squeamish conservatives like The Hindu) succumbed to the lure of huge multi page advertisements and virtually gave away their front pages to the Uninor ad-blitz, forcing readers into all sorts of contortions to read their sharply reduced quota of leading headlines ( ironically when most of these papers were waxing eloquent over the successes of the print medium at the IFRA/World Newspaper Congress which wound down in Hyderabad).
The Uninor pricing of 29 paise per minute of for local and 49 paise for long distance calls was criticized as being predatory by some of the incumbent providers – who so no contradiction in announcing 1 second calling cycles like so many dominoes over the last few weeks.
Uninor promises to add Orissa very soon and 5 more regions next year.
All this is doubtless good news for subscribers in India who have been buying mobile phones at the fastest rate ever – 16 million last month. Let the telecom price wars begin!
Dec 5 2009