Idea Cellular has announced its network roll out in Orissa, with customised tariffs and VAS. It plans to cover 360 towns and villages in Orissa and will also set up a retail network of over 18,500 consumer care outlets in the state by next month. Idea’s retail network includes its service centres called ‘MY IDEA Stores’ and distributors under the ‘IDEA Points’ label. With its Orissa leg of expansion begun, the company will focus next on Tamil Nadu.

It has established its circle headquarters in the capital and plans to cover 2200 towns and villages with its EDGE network by year end. EDGE (which stands for Enhanced Data GSM Environment) is a faster version of GSM delivering speeds of 384 Kbps when subscribers use GPRS.

VAS Portfolio

The telco will also unveil an exclusive regional website (WAP site?) called Oriya Manoranjan that will showcase the state’s culture, music, festivals, movies and religion. Besides this, Idea will unleash its regular value added services such as its mobile TV offering IDEA TV, voice chats, instant messaging, multimedia messages with video attachments, web-infotainment, video downloads and game downloads to the state.

Idea TV is powered by Apalya, which is also behind BSNL’s and Tata Indicom’s Mobile TV offerings. MTNL chose Aksh to launch Mobile TV services in Delhi and Mumbai over its 3G network, as we reported earlier.

Also read about Tata Indicom’s launch of Mobile TV in Mumbai on Medianama. The monthly plan charged by Idea will be the same rate as BSNL’s –  Rs 50 per channel per month or Rs 150 for the entire bouquet of channels. Tata Indicom will charge a higher pricefor Mobile TV – Rs 15 for 5 minutes.

What Idea has done differently is offer a preview – Mobile TV will be offered for free for a day and there onwards charging Rs 10, just like BSNL did. Idea has also explicitly said it will not charge subscribers for connecting via GPRS/EDGE for Mobile TV once the applet has been downloaded, unlike other telcos.

Orissa has a teledensity of 20.3% compared to the national average of over 35%. Idea will compete with BSNL’s advanced 3G network coming soon to Orissa, which we noted earlier. Aircel has been operating in the state for years and other telcos are making plans to tap the state’s 39 million residents. Will Orissa be the arena where 2.5G and 3G will take each other on?