Indian GSM mobile phone service provider Airtel is entering the vehicle alarm sector by launching a SIM-card based system, called MCops.

If someone tries to break into a MCops-equipped vehicle, the gadget sends off a discreet text message to the owner.

The owner can then either remotely disable the steering or, if the intruder has managed to start the car and drive it away, by sending an 'engine off' text to the vehicle - which will start again only when the owner sends a subsequent 'engine on' text.

Bharti has tied up with Micro Technologies (India), which has developed the device. It is expected to cost INR8,000 (£94/$US173)) but Airtel has yet to set the ongoing charge for the text messaging service.