labels: Telecom, Marketing
Virgin Mobile to charge local rates for STD calls news
14 October 2008

Mumbai: "Geography is history, call anywhere in India @ just 50 paise / minute on prepaid," is the latest marketing salvo in the competitive Indian mobile services market from mobile virtual network operator, Virgin Mobile, which hasdropped all India STD and local rates on prepaid to 50 paise per minute without any pack or extra cost. Virgin Mobile branded services are being offered to the Indian consumers by Tata Teleservices through a brand franchise with Virgin.

It says "customers can now call any number (mobile or landline) across networks, across India at only 50 paise per minute after the initial three minutes of the day."
Close on the heels of its ''get paid for incoming,'' Virgin Mobile, which has branded itself as the first youth focused mobile service in India, announced this tariff for the prepaid segment to "allow Virgin Mobile youth customers to make STD and Local calls @50paise per minute without any extra charges, commitments or a pack.

Virgin Mobile also allows calls between Virgin Mobile users at 10 paise per minute for upto 700 local minutes for a nominal monthly commitment of Rs28, available through a vPower recharge voucher, making it one of the most attractive packs for the young in the market. Interstingly users can call their peers virtually for free as its 'Get Paid for Incoming' proposition allows users to earn 10 paise credit per minute from every incoming call.

True to its brand philosophy, ''Think Hatke'', the company unveiled the new tariff offer in a fun, cheeky and innovative style.  The unveiling was the bringing down of a vinyl, which had a photograph of a male lower torso clad in a pair of jeans and carried a teaser, ''We are dropping ours.''    

According to M A Madhusudan, CEO, Virgin Mobile India, since the young are high users of mobile services, this offer will meet their needs by providing a value proposition on long distance calling.

He said, "STD comprises around 25 per cent of their outgoing usage in minutes but importantly their spends on STD are as high as 50 per cent.

Explaining the strategy, Madhusudan said, "Our pocket-friendly STD call rate will now help our youth customers make longer and more regular calls to their friends and family across the country. Our strategy has been to offer value and flexibility that meets the unique needs of urban youth. We launched in India with the ''Get Paid for Incoming'' offer and with the launch of ''New 50 paise STD Local'' tariff, we are delighted to set yet another benchmark in the telecom industry in less than a year. This tariff is the first of its kind offer in the country and is our effort to put end to distances across geographies in India."

Comparing the new tariff offer to the industry rates, he said, ''Against the industry norm of providing STD at Rs1 per minute at an additional monthly commitment, ''New 50 P STD Local'' will provide the lowest all India STD base tariff offer at 50 paise per minute with no extra cost or purchase of a pack a value proposition no other mobile service offers in India currently.''    

Virgin Mobile estimates that commitment to STD packs is not a regular affair for the youth. It is need-based and hits their pockets and therfore, ''New 50 paise STD local'' is aimed at targeting this latent need by giving them the benefit of lower STD base rates apart from benefits for local calling at no extra cost.

All new customers can avail the ''New 50 paise STD local'' with a new Virgin Mobile connection on purchase of a starter kit priced at Rs99.  Existing Virgin Mobile subscribers, who wish to migrate to this plan, can also do so.

In addition, Virgin Mobile offers innovative bolt-ons or schemes such as 'Thank God its Weekend' that let youth enjoy 100 free local SMSs and all local mobile calls at 30 paise between Friday and Sunday on payment of just Rs. 18. 

Virgin Mobile is also selling a range of six competitively priced handsets priced between Rs1,499 and Rs3,999, with colour dispaly loaded with an FM-radio The entry level vTrendy comes bundled with lifetime validity recharge and a starter user kit. On the other hand, its vKewl phone video recording, 1.3 mega pixel camera, MP 3 player, FM radio, 1 GB micro card and is loaded with music and videos, MMS, speakers and headsetand  a lifetime incoming and prepaid connection for Rs3,999.

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Virgin Mobile to charge local rates for STD calls