UntitledBharti Airtel has partnered with Opera Software, the browser company, to launch Opera Web Pass for Airtel customers in India. The Opera Web Pass will offer Airtel users a pay-as-you-go mobile Internet subscription service on hourly basis. The following plans are being made available for subscribers:

– an hourly data plan, by paying a fee for one-hour subscription of mobile internet

– unlimited data usage by paying a flat fee for a 24 hour subscription and

– a weekend subscription plan.

Users will be prompted with an expiration message when their Opera Web Pass ends or when they access a service that incurs an additional charge. It should be noted that these data plans, once activated, are available only through Opera browser.

During the Opera’s 300 million user meetup, Opera had also informed MediaNama that Opera Web Pass to access social networking sites, cricket sites, among others would be launched in the future.

How to access: To avail the data package, Airtel subscriber needs to start Opera Mini on their mobile phone, click Opera Web Pass in the Speed Dial start page and choose from a list of web pass subscriptions. Currently, the price of the available subscription plan has not been disclosed. We have contacted Airtel for more information, and will update the article as soon as we receive a response.

How it works:

Our views

This is an interesting offering to mobile internet users who do not understand the data usage pattern based on KBs and MBs. An hourly or daily pass simplifies the process. Besides, as we mentioned earlier in the post, users can also access content based products in future. However, at the time of filing this report, Airtel has not launched a content based Opera Web Pass plan.

Nikhil adds: For a telecom operator, while browsers like Opera mini help compress data, they also reduce data consumption, and hence have a direct impact on data revenues. Opera appears to be trying to address this by providing a solution that measures data usage on the basis of time, instead of megabytes consumed. In our opinion, that’s a much more consumer friendly approach.