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Airtel Will Open Up Location & Micropayment API’s In 3-5 Months; Vodafone No-Show

Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom operator, is planning to open up its location and Micropayment API's in 3-5 months, Gopal Vittal, CEO of Bharti Airtel, said at a Lightspeed Venture Partners event. Amit Somani, Chief Product Officer at MakeMyTrip had tweeted these updates from the event, which he has verified to us. On being contacted by MediaNama, Airtel has declined to confirm or deny this, only saying that they have no comment to offer at this stage. We'd also asked Airtel for inputs on their plans for revenue share for billing, and the role of their VAS department, once an open API has launched, but they have declined to comment. Dev Khare of Lightspeed Venture Partners also confirmed to MediaNama that Vittal had spoken about opening up Airtel's API at their event. Vittal expects 100 million "real, deep smartphone" users just for Airtel over next 3 years, up from 20-30 million at best today. Last quarter, Airtel became the first Indian telecom operator to cross 50 million mobile Internet users, though this base might also include WAP users, who open URL's only the basis of WAP pushes, and can't really be deemed to be regular mobile Internet users. An open API would allow developers to plug into the telecom operator network, and use location data and billing mechanisms for a number of things: allowing better target advertising (like VServ has done with Airtel), location based services, or direct to consumer billing for Internet based services. At present, telco billing is…

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Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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