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Telecom RoundUp: China Mobile, Airtel, Nokia

Mixed Signals From China Mobile: China Mobile has clarified that it is not looking at India for its expansion, following a report by Business Standard. “We did not make such a statement,” China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou said. According to Reuters, the CEO said he was still cautious about further international expansion, adding that the current market conditions, however, did provide opportunities for buys. The operator acquired Pakistan-based Paktel for $460mn in 2007 and has plans to invest $500 million in the telco. It is also present in Hong Kong. While hypothesizing about whether the operator will indeed join the fray of telcos and if it does, which one it would want to acquire, is interesting, let’s give China Mobile some leeway and wait for action.

Airtel’s Rural Drive: Untapped demand for services in villages, saturating urban markets and stiff competition has led operators to switch on their charm in rural India. Airtel has launched a rural drive to set uchp 17,000 of its service centres in villages by March, ET reports.

Entrepreneurs running general stores or any outlet will be trained by Airtel to sell and exchange SIMs. These agents will also help rural users activate, reactivate and recharge mobile connections. They will also sell value-added services such as ringtones. Airtel launched a pilot to set up a Rural Airtel Service Centre in Rajasthan and currently has 3000 centres. The company aims to have one service centre in every village.

Nokia Ovi In India: Nokia’s recently launched Ovi Store will be available to Indian users by the second half of this year, ET reports. The company is currently working out the pricing mechanisms for content, applications and videos. It will also partner with music labels like Sony and Sa Re Ga Ma to offer Hindi and vernacular language songs that can be downloaded. Ovi Store, to be commercially launched in May in 9 countries, will offer a unique personalised experience by displaying applications your friends bought, or those relevant to your location.

Relevant Post: Nokia & Microsoft Unveil App Stores At Mobile World Congress

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