Business Today

Binge on bargains

The highly competitive telecom market throws up a good deal a day, but picking the best can be tricky. KAMYA JAISWAL shortlists some tempting offers for you.

Kamya Jaiswal        Print Edition: September 5, 2010

Handset
Rs 799

How cheap can a phone be? No, don't answer yet. Because even as you do, handset manufacturers are working on lowering the bar set by Vodafone's VF 150. Priced at Rs 799, the VF 150 is cheaper than the weekly grocery bill for most urban families. Of course, the phone does not have spectacular features, but you can talk and text easily with minimal compromise on quality. In addition, the phone flaunts a oneyear warranty (though you could buy a new one without batting an eyelid), a torch, phonebook capacity of 200 numbers and SMS storage of 20 messages. The specifications may be too basic for a technophile, but the VF 150 is a perfect buy for those who want their devices fuss-free (think grandparents) or those who can't help forgetting their phones in restaurants and cabs. (think scatterbrain aunt). More value for less money.

Mobile TV
Below Rs 7,000

Forty live and 10 content-ondemand channels on the go. What more can a TV addict want? For it to be cheap as well. Samsung's Metro TV is the answer to both wishes. The phone sets you back by Rs 6,999, which is higher than the price of an usual low-end phone, but skip a couple of dinner outings and you will be able to watch your favourite shows when stuck in a traffic jam. The CDMA phone uses the MimobiTV application to view and record programmes and works on both CDMA 1X and EVDO 3G networks. It has a two-inch TFT display, Bluetooth, a 2 MP camera, FM radio, an 8 GB microSD card slot and broadband capability of up to 2.4 mbps. For the 29 pay TV channels offered, you have to include a small fee in your monthly mobile bill. At the moment, Samsung and Metro TV have tie-ups with Reliance Netconnect and Tata Indicom for the service.

Call Rates
30 paise/minute

After Tata's DOCOMO started the trend of one paisa per second tariffs, MTS India dropped rates to an incredibly low one paisa per two seconds. Since then, telecom providers have been bending backwards to woo customers with innovative tariff schemes. For instance, Reliance Communications has come up with the Talk All You Want CDMA plan for prepaid customers, under which all local calls are free, with up to 30 minutes a day for calls to other networks. Vodafone is tapping into users' habits with plans like Night Talk Bonus recharge voucher, which bills local calls between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. at just 10 paise a minute.

Dual SIM
Below Rs 2,000

A clandestine affair, frequent travelling or the need to separate professional and personal lives - there could be many reasons for wanting a dual SIM phone. The good news is that you can own one for just Rs 1,749. The M 3636 from Spice Mobiles switches between two GSM SIMs at the click of a button. Throw in a one-touch music player, FM radio, mobile tracker and a 2 GB expandable memory, and you have a winner at this price. Also, keep an eye out for Nokia's C2, the market leader's entry in the dual SIM phone segment. Its exchangeable SIM slot allows you to insert the second SIM card when the phone is switched on, giving it an edge over competition.

3G Handset
Below Rs 5,000

Now that the government has raked in the moolah from 3G spectrum auctions, it's your turn to savour the benefits of higher speed and better voice quality. You won't have to scrimp to afford it as 3G-enabled handsets are available for less than Rs 5,000. Consider the Nokia 2730 Classic. Armed with Ovi Mail, Nokia Messaging and the Opera mini browser, it has everything you need to optimise the 3G experience. The two-inch OVGA display is smaller than the high-end 3G phones, but it is a reasonable compromise at the given price. The features have been beefed up by a 2 MP camera, 4x digital video zoom and a 30 MB memory that can be expanded to 2 GB.

Social Networking
Below Rs 6,000

As tweeting for breakfast, buzzing at work and writing on Facebook walls after dinner become routine, mobile phones geared towards virtual connectivity are flooding the market. A great option is the recently launched Nokia C3 (about Rs 5,300). It boasts live Facebook and Twitter feeds on the home screen so that you can comment and update your status easily. You can use Google talk, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Messenger and Ovi Chat for instant messaging. An internal memory of 55 MB upgradeable to 8 GB, a 2 MP camera and Nokia music player are a bonus for the networking buffs.

Broadband
4 mbps at Rs 899

On paper, a jump from 256 kbps to 4 mbps for download speeds seems huge, but, for the broadband service providers, it obviously isn't. They have even managed to lower the cost of higher speed. Airtel's latest scheme offers 4 mbps speed at just Rs 899 a month. The data transfer is limited to 6 GB, but for Rs 500 more, you can extend it to 25 GB at the same speed. If you belong to the rare breed that does not log on to the Net regularly, Aircel has an innovative plan advertised as the 'pocket Internet'. For just Rs 5, you can surf the Net for two days, access Hotmail for free and download pages of 20 GB capacity. Staying connected was never cheaper.

Courtesy: Money Today

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