Vodafone brings MiFi, Airtel introduces live broadband TV

Vodafone India has announced availability of their MiFi device allowing upto 5 devices to connect at the same time over WiFi to browse Internet (over 3G) and Airtel has announced subscription based live and video on demand television over the Internet.
Written by Manan Kakkar, Contributor

Slowly but steadily mobile operators are introducing their 3G services across cities in India, Airtel launched their 3G services in Mumbai this week and Vodafone is expected to do so too. 3G and Mobile Number Portability gives users something to think about for switching networks. In a press release today, Vodafone announced the availability of their MiFi device which makes for a good reason to opt for Vodafone. Vodafone 3G and MiFi should enable users to be connected without having to rely on their phones to be tethered to the computers.

For personal use, we could tether our mobile phones to share the Internet connection sacrificing phone battery, MiFi hopes to address this. A MiFi device is a small WiFi router that fits in your pocket and allows you to connect upto 5 devices to it for Internet browsing. Vodafone's MiFi device called Vodafone R201 claims a 4 hour battery life with USB and power charging options. As an added bonus, the device looks good:

Vodafone India MiFi
Priced at Rs. 5,500/- it has a SIM which means you'll have to sign up for a new connection to make good use of it, since you won't be swapping your phone SIM. I am quite excited with this announcement and am pretty sure Airtel will follow Vodafone on this. Talking about Airtel, they've announced subscription based live broadband TV. Airtel is a major player in DTH based television distribution, mobile and broadband, with broadband TV they've confirmed that India is ready for Internet based television.

Airtel Live Broadband TV offers live channels and video on demand. There are three monthly subscription options:

  • Rs. 49 (~ $1) for any 3 channels.
  • Rs. 49 for all channels from 9 PM to 9 AM
  • Rs. 99 (~$2) for all channels, 24 hours

While it sounds all good, the problem is with the list of channels available - not very exciting as of now.

Update: As Medianama points out, Airtel won't be counting bandwidth consumed by watching TV over Airtel Broadband TV towards a user's fair usage policy bandwidth limit. This makes the service an interesting alternative to watching streams from other websites.

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