Satellite mail – the latest in messaging
Anand Adhikari (Mumbai, February 24)

IF YOU thought Internet mail is the only instant 'messaging system' in the country today, then you are mistaken. Satellite mail — the first of its kind in India — is fast making inroads into the major metros and cities.

More than 200 towns are already connected through as many as 35 earth stations providing satellite mail facility by which, anyone can send messages (telephonic, fax, pager etc) to anywhere in India at just Rs 10-15 per message (consisting up to 60 words per message).

The pioneering messaging endeavour is the effort of the Madras based Dela Innovative Enterprises Ltd. The company has a license from the department of telecommunications (DoT) to set up earth stations to facilitate instant messaging through satellite.

The facility is fast catching up with the corporate sector and the institutions. LIC Housing, ANZ Grindlays Bank, Citibank, RPG Group, NIIT, Aptech, Ashok Leyland, ORG-Marg, etc, are already using this facility to send messages across the country.

"We have more than 200 corporates on the roll. The concept is new.…it needs aggressive marketing," said K. Adhivarahan, senior general manager of Deltagram.

Satellite messaging constitutes over 75 per cent of communication internationally, while in India according to estimates, it is only 20 per cent now.

Deltagram proposes to connect nearly 3,000 towns and 40,000 villages over the next three years. In order to enable easier access to its services, Deltagram is also creating 100,000 message collection centers in every street all over the country. The entire infrastructure creation will involve a capital outlay of Rs 150 crore.

"We have a loan of Rs 5.7 crore from the IDBI. The paidup capital of the company is Rs 9.2 crore with Rs 4.4 crore being contributed by foreign institutional investors and Rs 4.8 crore by the core promoters," Adhivarahan said.

The company's software is capable of handling 26 languages but currently the service is being offered only in English. The company is also planning to connect the United States and Britain whereby even international messages (telephonic, pager, fax, etc) can be sent at Rs 15-20 per message.
Source: The Hindustan Times. February 25, 2000