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Yahoo Inks AOL-Style Homepage Deal With Tata Teleservices

Yahoo India has inked a partnership deal with telecom operator Tata Teleservices, by virtue of which a co-branded homepage will be made the default homepage for all Tata Teleservices access devices – Photon Plug2Surf, Photon Plus and Photon Pro wireline broadband. The Internet subscriber base of Tata Teleservices is not known.

Update: The deal does not involve Tata Communications – only Tata Teleservices. Tata Teleservices has declined to disclose a subscriber number for their Internet services. According to data released by India’s Telecom regulator TRAI, as of December 2008, Tata Teleservices was not among the top 10 broadband subscribers; Asianet was at number 10 in that list with just 53,188 subscribers. Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd had a dialup subscriber base of only 46,287.

Yahoo will monetize the co-branded page via advertisements, and also give users access to their content. An advertising-revenue sharing deal has been struck between the two companies.Tata Indicom subscribers will get information on bill payment, tariff plans, promotions etc on the co-branded portal, and also get access to all of Yahoo’s content. I hope that Yahoo and Tata Teleservices aren’t forcing users to access the Yahoo page like Sify did: as a Sify customer, the Sify Max page would open up every time I logged into my account: increasing their pageviews and my irritation. It became instinctive for me to close the page as soon as it popped up.

This type of the deal – of a portal tying up with a service provider – is a typical AOL style deal, and rather old hat. In fact, a couple of years ago, AOL India tied up with MTNL to make it the default homepage for MTNL ADSL (broadband) subscribers – in case of every new connection, the linesman would make AOL India the homepage for the consumers browser.

In the past, Google has also signed up with Airtel and Sify for providing Google Apps to users.

(Updates: removed data related to Tata Communications as not relevant to this story)

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