Videocon has become 14th telecom operator to launch GSM services in the crowded Indian market. The service, branded as Videocon Mobile Services (and not Datacom) is live in Coimbatore. Videocon has licenses for operations in 21 circles. New connections will be made at Videocon Mobile Shop, ‘Next’ showroon and Planet M Showrooms.

We called up the customer care number for Videocon Mobile Services at 09080012345, and though no automated details for plans were availabe, the Coimbatore launch was confirmed. No post-paid plans are available yet.

The company has launched with a base pre paid plan, wherein the SIM will cost Rs. 49, and has talk time value of Rs 5. Local calls within the Videocon network and others will cost Re. 1 per minute; STD calls will be charged Rs 1.50 per minute. This is valid only till the first recharge, which costs Rs 31 to activate per second billing, and gives the subscriber an additional Rs. 75 bonus over and above the recharge value of Rs 25. The rate isn’t unexpected: Re. 0.1 per second, including while roaming. SMS charges for local, national and international are Re. 1, Rs. 1.50 and Rs. 5 respectively. Details for further recharges were unavailable.

Interestingly, all new Videocon connections come with lifetime validity. To maintain lifetime validity a subscriber has to have done a cumulative recharge of at least Rs 200 every six months.

The Dhoot family, which owns the Videocon Group, and original promoter Mahendra Nahata had received the license under Datacom three years back but problems between the owners had stalled the launch of the service. It was recently reported that Nahata had exited the venture, and Datacom had been renamed Videocon Telecommunications.

Videocom Mobile Services has an infrastructure sharing agreement with Tata Teleservices and tower sharing deal worth $400 million with Aircel. It also has a range of mobile handsets. The new entrant seems to be testing the waters with a launch only in Coimbatore. Uninor had launched its services in December in 7 circles simultaneously.

Now since Videocon has ironed out its wrinkles and joined the fray, we wonder whether they will bid for 3G Spectrum as well?

(Update: had mistakenly referred to Videocon as Vodafone; corrected now)

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