After signing up the two largest ISPs in India – BSNL and MTNL, thin client PC company Novatium has signed up with Bharti Airtel. Bharti Airtel is the third largest ISP in India, with a market share of 8.2% and 1.25 million subscribers as of 31st December 2009, behind BSNL with 8.52 million (55.91% marketshare) and MTNL with 2.25 million subscribers (14.82% marketshare). More details on the top 10 in the chart below.

A thin client is like a remote desktop: all applications, services and storage is on a connected server, and users are able to access them remotely via their broadband connection. No data resides on the machine, and the ability to install new software is significantly limited in this format. Bharti Airtel previously had a partnership with Nivio for thin clients. We’ve written to Airtel for an update on Nivio, which appeared to be targeting Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), rather than home users.

What is noteworthy about the partnership is that they are offering consumers a cash back offer of Rs. 4500 after 24 months of usage, and a one-month buy-back guarantee. While Airtel has publicised the service as having an entry price of Rs. 4999, note that that does not include a monitor. With monitor, the service has an upfront cost of Rs. 8999, and it’s Rs. 10,999 if you want a monitor and a 169 GB hard drive.

On top of this, is the monthly rental of Rs. 999 for a 512kbps connection from Airtel. Inexpensive, you say?

And is it about price? We’d asked a few months ago, about whether what limits broadband penetration in the country is just the entry price, or is it more about education, and creating a need for broadband.

Related:

Tata Tele Launches Dialog For Internet On TV; Price vs Education
Novatium To Launch NetPC With BSNL; Why MTNL & BSNL
On Airtel Net PC: Application Marketplace, Remote Connectivity, Target Maket