Zip to open international operations soon

By : |October 28, 2001 0



Nanda Kasabe & Rashida Bakait

MUMBAI: Mumbai-based Zip Telecom Ltd. plans to enter the Asian and South
African telecommunications market with its pay phone network in a big way.

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"We wish to replicate the Indian pay phone model in South Africa and are
currently scouting for local partners to enter the market," Ravi Kailas,
chairman and CEO, Zip Telecom, said.

Zip Telecom Ltd. is a subsidiary of Zip Global Network Ltd., a Mauritius
based company with equity participation from a group of investors led by
Andersen Weinroth & Co. LLC, New York and the American International Group (AIG).

In Asia, the company is looking for partnership with telecom companies from
Singapore, Taiwan and Korea. The company is looking for backbone network
provider in these countries with whom it could either partner or sell the
phones. Kailas expressed faith that their pay-phone model was
"ideally" suited for the South African market and hopes to make some
kind of inroads in the next two to three years.

Zip Telecom produces the Zip Fone, a state-of-the art pay phone. The Zip Fone
is upgradable to offer multiple payment options including acceptance of smart
cards, provide services such as voice mail, email and Internet browsing. Zip has
global patents pending for its advanced pay phone system and its method of
advertising on pay phones over a communication network.

The India operations of Zip Telecom are the first (and still the only)
independent public access telephony and Internet company in India. Zip operates
in the top 20 cities in India. The company has over 15,000 pay phones
operational in India as of July 2001.

Zip has submitted a proposal to BSNL to subscribe to 1,00,000 PCO lines all
over India. "We have been discussing this issue with them for the past two
years," Kailas explained.

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