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FM to TV, cricket marks another generational change in phones
Published on 4 Apr. 2011 10:52 PM IST
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NEW DELHI, APR 3: If the previous edition of World Cup Cricket marked a shift in the way many in this nation kept track of matches, shifting from transistors to FM-radio enabled phones, the tournament this year was the cause of another generational change.
Some few thousand fans in this cricket-loving nation could actually see the matches on the move, as telecom providers started their third generation (3G) services, offering mobile TV packages to woo customers.
“I could not take leave during the semi-finals since it was our financial closure,” said R.S. Ganesh, a banker, who thought he may have to miss out some precious moments of that gripping match between India and Pakistan as he could leave office only around 6.45 pm.
“But luckily that was not to be. My mobile phone operator had already upgraded me free from 2G to 3G. Then there was this offer I could not resist -- Rs.40 for 20 minutes of live mobile TV,” Ganesh, who lives in Chennai, told IANS.
“I could watch the match on the move and caught up with the rest at home,” he said. “Not that it was cheap. But a few hundred rupees is not that large an amount that one cannot spare -- anything for cricket.”
Neither the mobile phone operators in the country and their associations nor the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the watchdog, had specific numbers on the people who have opted for the mobile TV package. But the guess: around a few thousand across the nation. Reliance Communications offered packages that ranged from Rs.100 to Rs.2,100, while Airtel, among its other offerings, announced a specific package coinciding with the World Cup, at Rs.40 for 20 minutes of TV viewing, with a vaidity of one week.
Little wonder Nishant Ugal, an Airtel subscriber, could not help flaunt his mobile TV service and shared his tablet screen with eager onlookers. “The speed was amazing, like television on move -- no strobe effect and clear picture.”
Rakesh Nagar, a freelance photojournalist using Reliance Communications 3G services for the past one-and-a-half months, also says as long as the service is good, money does not matter.
New generation mobile phone services also offer features such as video-calls, video streaming and applications to access at the Internet at superfast speeds on a wide variety of both mobile phone and personal computing devices.
But many in this cricket-crazy nation agree -- the World Cup was an eye-opener for the dynamics of 3G telephone services in India and the upcoming Indian Premier League will certainly take it to the next level.

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