Telcos in India are intensifying their efforts to address the rural community to grow their subscriber bases. Tata Indicom has added one more rural value added service to its bouquet by partnering with Nano Ganesh maker Ossian Agro Automation, a Pune-based company, Business Standard reports. Nano Ganesh solves the problem of accessing pumpsets from home, avoiding walks through difficult terrain, extreme weather conditions, wild animals. There is no fear of electrical shocks during the rain.
How It Works
Nano Ganesh is an electric starter that can be used to start or stop a water pump from a remote location using a mobile modem and a handset. A farmer just makes a call, enters in his personal code, and switches the pump on or off. It also checks if there is adequate power supply to the pump. A video explaining how it saves the time and effort of farmers who have to walk for ten kilometres to operate their pumps can be downloaded from here (Zip file).
Tata Indicom is the first to launch the service with its network and will be offering it in Sojitra village in Gujarat. In case you were wondering, the name seems to be a coincidence rather than an attempt at co-branding with Tata’s new car Nano. The service is compatible with any service provider and its only requirement is that connectivity is good. So other operators such as Airtel, which is also on a rural India drive, should be able to offer it as VAS too.
Nano Ganesh recently won a Nokia’s contest Calling All Innovators for developers as an application relevant to the emerging market. It should be up on Ovi store but a search for the app did not generate any results. Nokia’s own application for farmers – Life Tools – is meanwhile on its way to a pan-India roll out, with the aid of operators and Thomson Reuters, which has already set up its Market Light service in Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra and is expanding to UP, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
The pricing by Tata Indicom contradicts its intent. If it is aiming to draw more rural subscribers, it should ensure the pricing is in tune with their budgets. Instead, it is charging Rs. 2700, plus extra for the handset. According to Silicon India, Nano Ganesh’s original cost as of January was between Rs. 500 – Rs. 1700. We wonder which additional costs Indicom has incorporated into the new pricing.
The connection offered on these handsets will have lifetime validity. All calls made to the pump by the Tata Indicom mobile shall be free, and the others charged according to the rate plans.
Other Rural VAS By Tata Indicom
Sahayak is another VAS for farmers by Tata Indicom which offers weather forecasts and market prices. The operator is offering this service in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh.
Another crop advisory service called mKrishi by Tata Indicom’s sister company TCS was to be rolled out not just in India but also other emerging countries. (More at Hindu).
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