Zip to open international operations soon

CIOL Bureau
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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.

"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.