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RCOM Launches Facebook Feature Phone App; Wireless Internet For Rs. 169 Outside Top 1000 Cities

Reliance Communications and Facebook have announced the launch of a facebook feature phone app, available for Reliance Subscribers “exclusively” for a 3 month period. It’s a java based application, and is available without any data charges being incurred. Remember that RCOM already has a partnership with Facebook for 0.facebook.com. The application allows synchronizing local address book contacts with Facebook friends, has Facebook login for third party services within the app (so authorization won’t be in a browser?). It can be downloaded at http://wap.rworld.co.in.

One wonders why Facebook decided to partner with RCOM for this initiative – given that RCOM’s active subscriber base is rather low.

153kbps Internet access at Rs. 169 per month

RCOM has also announced an offer to provide wireless Internet connectivity at outside of the top 1000 cities, at Rs. 169 per month to pre-paid users. They claim to be giving “unlimited” access to the Internet at this price (apart from the USB stick modem cost of Rs 1099), but we can never be too sure, since they do have a fair usage policy for other plans. The limit is by virtue of it being a rather slow speed offering – at 153 kbps (at best). While the PR spin suggests that it’s an initiative for the benefit of semi-urban and rural areas, it just looks like RCOM is trying to find takers for slow speed 2G data card connectivity.

Remember that this is not wireless broadband, since broadband in India is defined as 256kbps. Sure, Rs. 169 per month makes access more affordable, but you’re probably better off using pay-as-you-go GPRS, which has the same speed, and lower data consumption on most phones (because of mobile-optimised websites). Frankly, RCOM should have offered higher, EVDO speeds if it really wanted to drive access.

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