Chennai: India Pre-Paid Services Ltd, the country's first company to offer virtual pre-paid airtime, will launch its offering in Delhi and Mumbai soon. Signing up with cellular telephony service providers Bharti and Hutchison, India Pre-Paid Services will first offer its virtual pre-paid airtime services in Delhi and Mumbai through 200 retailers.
India Pre-Paid is a 50:50 joint venture between The Pre-Paid Company, South Africa, and Indian promoters Pramod Saxena and Sanjiv Lamba, a businessman with interests in the hospitality and office infrastructure sectors. The Pre-Paid Company is South Africa's largest distributor of pre-paid airtime in both the physical and virtual arenas.
Over the next 12-18 months, India Pre-Paid Services plans to tie up with all Indian cellular operators and have a nationwide network for offering virtual pre-paid services to consumers across India. The company has aggressive plans to grow its network of third-party retailers, and is currently in talks with banks, big retailers, petrol companies and large shopping malls, among others, to connect with their point of sale (POS) terminals and introduce its services making pre-paid recharge even more accessible to end consumers
"Globally, the pre-paid segment forms a significant portion of the subscriber base and revenues of operators. Today, the pre-paid recharge market is heading to a virtual/electronic environment from the physical distribution state," says Brett Levy, founder and executive chairman, The Pre-Paid Company.
According to the company, a market study by India Pre-Paid Services revealed that around 30 per cent of India''s prepaid customers leave outlets disappointed as recharge cards of their choice of operator or the denomination they prefer is not available, resulting in customer churn. The virtual pre-paid airtime system aims to address this issue and help operators retain their customers.
Initially, India Pre-paid Services plans to capture 20 per cent of the prepaid recharge market.
"India's prepaid market is set for phenomenal growth with the entry of CDMA operators as well. All operators are focusing on strengthening their pre-paid propositions through flexible tariff options and a growing channel. The physical distribution process is getting increasingly complex, which is why we believe that the virtual pre-paid recharge airtime concept will benefit operators, retailers and end consumers in a market like India," says Pramod Saxena, co-promoter, India Prepaid Services.
According to Saxena, India Prepaid Services will create an application service platform that will connect operators with retailers across the country. At a later stage, this virtual service platform can be used by non-telecom companies to deliver all kinds of payment services to consumers.
This new revolutionary concept will allow consumers to recharge their pre-paid airtime of any mobile operator and of any denomination from third party retailers. Retailers too will benefit hugely from this service as they will no longer be required to hold airtime stock in physical form of cards and will have a fully integrated virtual ordering and delivery system available 24 hours a day.