Uninor is all set to be acquired by Telenor next year, but it wants to increase its user base by spreading awareness about mobile usage in the rural areas and also by providing its customers with Free Wi-Fi Access in its stores. It has already introduced attractive STD calling packs for its U.P. West and Uttarakhand subscribers. The pack allows its subscribers to call any STD number at just 25p/min, which is the cheapest STD calling rate offered by any operator in the country.
In an effort to increase its subscriber base Uninor has started a new type of system, in which the Uninor approaches the mobile phone users at their work places, and also at places where Uninor doesn’t have an active SIM distribution network.
Uninor had also previously used auto-rickshaw drivers and milkmen for selling its SIMs. Now, it introduced the concept of mobile shops or shop on wheels for reaching to its prospective customers in far-flung places. The mobile shop is called at Ghumketu which comes under its ‘Blue Petal’ initiative in U.P West and Gujarat circles.
A Ghumketu can be either a bike or an auto-rickshaw having battery-powered xerox machine, a laptop and a printer. In Gujarat circles, the mobile Point of Sales (PoS) are the famous six-seater open rickshaws named as Chhakda.
K.C. Narendran, Senior VP and business head of U.P. West at Uninor said, “For rural people, mobile is a luxury, since a lot of money is really required for mobile usage. They just want to speak. There is a vast chunk of voice customers who are not using services or timely, demographically bounded to visit retail stores. So, we created this bike called Ghumketu.”
“Since they (the working people) cannot leave their workplace, we go to them and complete all the processes and hand over a SIM card once the verification process is complete,” he added.
Uninor is also spreading awareness about the usage of mobile phone and internet via this initiative. Uninor also revealed that its user base has gone up by 8% in the last 3 months since the introduction of Ghumketu. These Ghumketu not only sell new connections but also do recharges and provide assistance to customers for MNP too. At present, 30 Ghumketus are present in six zones and the company is planning to increase their number soon.
What we think about these Mobile Point of Sales:
You might at first laugh about the thought of buying your new SIM connection from a rickshaw driver or even a milkmen, but think about how easy it is for customers to buy a new connection. You longer have to visit their retail outlet or your kiryana guy (if he sell SIMs) and remind them multiple times to send your documents for verification. You will be handed over the SIM only after the successful verification of your documents. This makes the entire process of getting a new mobile connection hassle free.
Uninor Plans to Improve Its Network Coverage By Adding 5,000 Mobile Towers With An Investment of Rs. 600 Crore
Uninor currently operates across 6 telecom circles in India and has a subscriber base of 42 million users. It also has more than 1,500 stores and 3.65 lakh PoS, but Uninor wants to open even more stores and increase its network coverage by adding 5,000 new base stations by the end by 2014.
This will be done with an investment of Rs. 600 crore in the second half of the year. Uninor follows calendar year system and said that it had also invested Rs. 235 crore in the first half of this year.
Uninor CEO, Morten Karlsen Sorby revealed that the company has witnessed 40% revenue growth since the last year and is planning to take further by focussing on data services.
Yesterday, the company launched 500 Wi-Fi enabled stores in its circles providing free internet access to its customers. All its walk-in customers will be able to update the phone software and apps free of cost.
The company has introduced at *121# dialling service allowing subscribers to access their account information, get customized tariff plans and start/stop value added services.
Just like its voice tariffs, Uninor plans to introduces very cheap internet tariff plans to lure more users into using its internet services. And, with the addition of new mobile towers its network will span across even more areas which were previously inaccessible to Uninor’s network coverage.
Let’s hope that they also focus on the quality of their service and provide distortion and echo free voice calls, and of course, fast mobile data.