Phones Burst, Panic Spreads

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TM Champ
Mar 19, 2008
Source -

Bhopal/New Delhi, Aug. 19: A Nokia cellphone and another handset with a Samsung battery allegedly exploded in Madhya Pradesh today amid panic over Nokia’s announcement about faulty batteries and its offer to replace them.

Rajesh Shastri of Indore said his Reliance mobile phone, run on a Samsung battery, burst with a bang on Sunday.

“I was talking to someone on the phone and the moment I put it down, it jumped and broke in two,” Shastri alleged.

Over 200km away, Vicky Jain told police that his Nokia 1100 mobile had exploded while being recharged at his electricals shop in Begumgunj, 80km from Bhopal. He said some furniture was damaged.

Mangal Singh Thakre, the officer in charge of Begumgunj police station, confirmed the complaint but said he was yet to ascertain the circumstances in which Jain’s phone had exploded.

A Samsung representative in Indore, J.K. Nayar, said Shastri’s battery was old and needed change. “We have not received any formal complaint but are looking into the matter,” he added.

Last week, Nokia had advised consumers to check their handsets after it decided to replace 46 million batteries worldwide because about 100 of them overheated while being recharged. The company listed steps to identify whether a battery was affected.

The fear of battery explosions has driven thousands of mobile users to service stations, and Nokia is believed to have received more than 31 lakh messages or phone calls in the past week.

Leading mobile operators, Bharti Airtel and Hutch, however, have thrown their weight behind Nokia, praising its commitment to customers.

“Such pro-active intervention… was never seen in India before. This reaffirms our confidence in them,” an agency report quoted Sanjay Kapoor, president of Bharti Airtel Mobile Services, as saying

Harit Nagpal, marketing director of Hutch, said: “The scale at which Nokia is communicating with its customers — it looks like a great act of responsibility.”