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Tata Teleservices To Deploy Nova netPC At $55-76; The Fine Print?

Tata Teleservices (TTML) will deploy Nova netPC, the thin client computer from Chennai based Novatium Solutions at a setup cost for as little as Rs. 2499 (around $55) with a monthly subscription cost of Rs. 350 ($7.6), and Rs. 3499 (around $76) with a monthly subscription of Rs. 250 (around $5.4). TTML provides services in Mumbai and the state of Maharashtra, so one may expect a wider deployment than that in case of Delhi.

Do note that it appears that the pricing is lower than the one being offered by MTNL Delhi – Rs. 4999 for installation and Rs. 399 per month for the service, but one can’t really be sure without looking at the fine print. As an example, take a look at the prices for the MTNL-netPC service, which we gleaned from Novatiums website:

A user who doesn’t have an MTNL landline connection will have to pay for a brand new landline connection, new broadband connection, and Nova Service; all in all, the installation cost will be Rs. 6698.96 ($146) and Rs. 616.86 ($13.5) per month, inclusive of all taxes. That’s because it includes MTNL phone charges, modem rental, and registration charges for the landline, broadband, and installation.

These are all legitimate costs, but significantly increase the barrier to entry for a lower income household. What Novatium wants, and indeed what the XO and any other $100 PC contender wants, is scale, which will allow the price to be lowered.

There’s money from the USO Fund – money collected from taxpayers with the objective of funding telecom growth in rural India – that remains underutilized…If the government is serious about broadband, they should use it to subsidise some of these costs, so MTNL won’t have to charge for installation and registration, and bring the overall installation cost down to around Rs. 5000 (around $110).

Novatium has received an undisclosed amount of funding from NEA.

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