Expensive data plans are still one of the major reasons why internet penetration in the country is hitting roadblocks. To make it affordable, Opera Software has tied up with telecom operator Idea Cellular to launch Idea Web Pass, based on the Opera Web Pass platform that it had unveiled last week.
The new alliance will allow Idea subscribers to enjoy customised and short-term mobile Internet packages as per their needs. The Idea Web Pass right now provides three different plans – Daily Internet Pass for Rs. 8, Weekly Facebook Pass for Rs. 7 and Weekly Internet Pass for Rs. 30. All these plans at the moment are accessible only via the Opera Mini browser, making it possible for a budget phone user to enjoy the internet without even tying up for full data plan.
To activate the service users need to simply click on “Idea Web Pass” on the Speed Dial page and then choose the subscription they want to use. The service is available for both prepaid and postpaid Idea users. While the amount for a prepaid user would be deducted right away from the available balance, for a postpaid user the charges would be reflected on her monthly bill.
Data penetration is a challenge in the country and hence has the move from Idea. Going further depending on the response Idea plans to make more packages available for users.
Norwegian browser developer and maker Opera is facing a stiff competition from UC Browser in the mobile and tablet browser section. To overcome this it recently launched an advertisement supported version of the Web Pass platform. With this feature, mobile operators can offer short-term data access passes to its customers like Idea is doing now. Vodafone India has also inked a similar deal with Opera, where by its customers can subscribe to different internet packages via the Opera Web Pass.
Opera has introduced a Sponsored Web Pass feature too whereby operators can team up with advertisers to sponsor the cost of customers’ mobile internet access, providing users with free mobile data. In return all a user has to do is to watch the advertisement from the sponsor before continuing to the content. With this plan while mobile users get free mobile data, Opera is providing operators an option to increase the revenue from data services by making use of ads way.
But we are yet to see any operator tie-up for the Sponsored Web Pass feature and a lot would depend on incentive to the user. However for now it looks like a tempting deal on paper.
Internet is the big revolution happening in the country. While 200M users accessed Internet in the country last year, it is also known fact that only 13% of the population is accessing Internet in the country. While we have been terribly behind the web revolution, mobile can save us in the digital world.
Last year according to a Gartner report, India became the world’s fastest growing smartphone country in Q4 2013. The massive proliferation of mobile in the country is a known fact and that’s why we are witnessing operators aggressively branding themselves with internet by providing easy and affordable data plans.
Opera’s Web Pass not only provides a happy deal for operators and customers, it also gives an opportunity to be the preferred mobile browser in the country, right now dominated by UC browser.