Hughes Ispat targets pay phone segment

CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE: Hughes Ispat Ltd. (HIL), which offers basic telephony services in

the Maharashtra circle, has targeted the pay phone segment for growth and has

launched a month long promotion activity with its pay phone operator Zip Telecom



Speaking to the press, HIL vice president sales, marketing and customer care

George Varghese has said that the company had over 1,500 STD\ISD pay phones in

the circle. Denying the charges that HIL was operating in Pune without DoT

clearance, Mr Varghese said they have obtained TEC clearances for their

services, which was the contractual obligation.

On the issue of pricing, Mr Varghese said, HIL would not offer discounted

rates for its services in a bid to get customers. The Telecom Regulatory

Authority of India (TRAI) specified rates, which DoT follows, would be

maintained. The thrust on pay phones was done to increase phone usage since

teledensity outside Mumbai is believed to be about 2 per 100 and in Mumbai it is

about 14 per 100. HIL's three switchboards are in Navi Mumbai, Worli and Pune,

each with capacities for seven lakh lines, hence they will not need to set up a

new switch in Pune at least, he added.

HIL began its services in the Navi Mumbai area last year, followed by Pune in

December ’98 and Worli in February ’99. It has a total subscriber base of

14,000, with Pune accounting for 3,000. Zip Telecom, which has partnered HIL in

the Maharashtra circle, is in the process of launching its product in other

states so that in another five years, it would be available nationally.