India’s Largest Mobile Carrier, Airtel has entered into a partnership with Google and have launched Free Zone powered by Google [Powered by Google means, Google probably bears the bandwidth access cost like it does in France], which will give Airtel mobile customers access to mobile web search and feature-phone-friendly versions of Gmail and Google+ in India.
Has Airtel gone nuts to offer Wireless Internet for Free ? In an era of High Telecom Spectrum Costs fueled by rampant Corruption, will the Bleeding Operator Airtel really offer anything for Free ? Nope, the deal is filled with Landmines at every step of your browsing.
Access to Google.com is Free, Viewing Search Query Result Page on Google is also FREE. However, if you like to visit any of the sites mentioned in the search results you will be Charged and these charges are High as already explained here.
Access to Google+ is Completely Free – Facebook in association with Reliance Communications offered completely free access to Facebook or with small Top-up amount. To counter Facebook’s growth, Google+ is being offered completely for Free using Airtel FreeZone including downloading of Photos, etc. This clearly means Google+ is miserably lagging behind Facebook and I guess Google is getting desperate to get Indians hooked on to the platform.
GMail – Only text is Free. Mail Document Attachments, Pictures etc rest all charged.
NOTE – Your access is FREE Only if You see the Free Page at the Top of the Page in Green Background Appears. Here is a Step-By-Step Guide on how to use Airtel Free Zone Internet for Accessing Google Web Sites, but their appears to be problem in accessing the same.
Can somebody explain why the most popular Google Maps is not included in this deal ? Free Access is restricted to just 1 GB / Month. The FreeZone offer can be withdrawn anytime without any notice.
How Google Should have Structured this Deal ?
Google is the greatest innovator in the Technology industry[IMO] which has delivered unmatched consumer experience across products and platforms for a decade now. Google earns few Billion Dollars every month and should not care for peanuts and focus on getting more users logged-on to their platform.
In continuing with the “WoW” experience, Google should have given completely Free access to Gmail, Maps, Google+, etc through Apps for a fixed time, say 30 days. I can bet that customers who’d experience Google’s Apps would definitely continue to use and this way he’d subscribe to Internet Data Packs of Wireless Carriers – A Win-Win for Both. Who Pays for 30 Days ? Google could cut a Bulk Bandwidth Deal with Airtel at hefty discount as is industry-wide practice.
I have asked few questions to both Google and Airtel on Network Used [2G /3G], Traffic Sharing Cost, Why No Maps , etc. Will update if they care to reply, otherwise think they are not interested in acquiring serious customers and just a media gimmick as “Free” sells in India.