Aircel has tied-up with London based handset mnufacturer INQ to launch two of its mobile handsets in India: INQ Mini 3G, which is a candy bar phone and INQ Chat 3G, a qwerty keypad phone. They intend to launch the device via 5000 outlets. INQ Chat will cost Rs 7599 (Rs 7999 in Maharashtra) and the Mini will cost Rs 5399.

Aircel appears to be pushing data services quite a bit: Just a few days ago, they’d announced a tie-up with Peek, an email only device. Around a year ago, they had built their nationwide launch around promoting their mobile Internet services as a differentiator, particularly focusing on Facebook and sites like Cricinfo, MakeMyTrip, among others. Facebook, which recently announced plans to open an office in India, has around 8 million users in the country.

INQ claims that they have pioneered the development of ‘social mobiles’. The phones have been customized for India with additions like a CricInfo widget, an Orkut integration, FacebookTwitter and alsoMSN Messenger. What’s interesting is that the contacts from Facebook, Twitter and MSN will be integrated with the contacts on the phone, in line with the notion that your phone book is your social network. Of late, recent handset entrants in the Indian market, like Micromax, have also focused on such the social networking and gaming aspect, rather than call rates. Tata DoCoMo and Reliance Communications are also launching social services. Frankly, with most handset manufacturers and service providers pushing social networking – where’s the differentiator?

According to the latest data released by TRAI, Aircel has 33.04 million connections in India at the end of January 2010.


Aircel Launches Peek, An Email Only Device
Facebook To Open Office In Hyderabad; Support Only?
RCOM Launches Socially With Unlimited Access To Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn
Tata DoCoMo Gives Free GPRS For Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, Nimbuzz & LinkedIn
Jan 2010: India Crosses 8M Broadband Connections; Adds 19.90 M Wireless