It’s a logistical nightmare.The Kumbh Mela Is the world’s largest religious festival that draws over 30 million on a single day and proverbial stories about children and families getting separated at the fair are legendary. But this year, telecom companies are here to save the day. As competition in the industry becomes intense and tariffs nosedive, Indian telecom service providers have taken to mass events like cricket tournaments, entertainment shows,and educational festivals to reach out to their audiences. And What better opportunity than the Kumbh For them to connect with consumers?

The country’s largest telcos like Reliance Jio, Vodafone-Idea,and Bharti Airtel is providing apps that offer real-time travel information, emergency helplines, andrea routes for visitors to stay in touch. They have also introduced radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags to locate people who might get lost at the fair which kicked off on January 15 in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj. Vodafone-Idea is giving out RFID tags to children under 14 and senior citizens at their counters to help their family track them. Jio has launched the Kumbh Mela app,which offers real-time status of trains and buses, and relevant information about routes and helplines.It has also launched Kumbh Jio Phones at ₹501, with special features related to the fair.

The Airtel TV app has tied up with VR Devotee, a Bengaluru-based startup that will stream the ceremonies through its virtual reality platform. Devotees can also watch the Kumbh Channel on the app that will connect them with the eight-week event that some 150 million are expected to attend.

(This story was originally published in the February 2019 issue of the magazine.)

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