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Uninor Launches GPRS In 9 States; Auto Opt-In After Free Trial

Uninor‘s prepaid customers in UP, Uttaranchal,Bihar, Jharkhand,Orissa, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh can now avail data services via GPRS. The company has launched data services with a free trial offer till May 6, 2010. After that, the tariff will be 10p per 10kb, though customers can avail of two other plans:

– myconnect 9 priced at Rs. 9 that’s valid for 3 days and allows free browsing upto 60MB
– myconnect 90 priced at Rs. 90 that’s valid for 30 days with 3GB of free browsing

Note that like MTS and Tata Docomo, Uninor has enabled free access to some sites. On Uninor’s list: Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and Linkedin, and not a single Indian site, it seems. We had questioned the neutrality of such a move earlier, in case of Tata Docomo and MTS.

Uninor says that Automatic Device Setting Server would enable settings on GPRS capable handsets as soon as the SIM is inserted, which means that users won’t have to bother waiting for applying for settings. It also means that Uninor will give all of its pre-paid subscribers a taste of GPRS. Uninor is also providing what it calls 1-click access on MyUninor portal (emulating an application store, perhaps), with only six icons which give access to more content.

Also note that in a market where billing procedures are more mysterious than shaman rituals, Uninor charges a flat rate of Rs5 per MMS, unlike other service providers that charge by the amount of data transferred, something most users have no way of finding out.

Nikhil adds: Now the Uninor GPRS website explicitly states that “browsing after May 6th 2010 is deemed as consent of accepting the service, charges 10 paise/10kb.” That is, if a consumer accesses the service, it is considered opt-in. So is GPRS like voice/voice-portal services, rather than a subscription package, where accessing it is deemed to be an indication of consent? Unlike subscription services like CRBT or content based SMS packages, users are being transitioned from a free service to paid service without explicitly asking them to subscribe to a package.

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