Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Jun 12, 2006
Industry & Economy - Venture Capital
States - Other States
Idea launches shared access service for rural entrepreneurs
Rural entrepreneurs can sell airtime on their mobile phones to people in the community wishing to make a call or send a text message
Pune , June 11
Idea Cellular Ltd has launched its shared access (voice & data) programme for rural India along with the GSM Association (GSMA), the global trade association for mobile phone operators.
A press release said Idea has launched the service in Maharashtra for the first time after a successful trial in the State, and it is slated for launch across all Idea circles shortly.
`Shared access', refers to the sharing of a mobile telecommunication device. This model extends the accessibility of communication whilst creating a new revenue stream for low-income rural entrepreneurs who own the mobile phone. Rural entrepreneurs can sell airtime on their mobile phones to people in the community wishing to make a call or send a text message, the release said.
This approach allows the entrepreneur to set up a payphone business for just the cost of a handset. Specially devised software with a printer will be developed to enable the owner of the mobile handset to provide a bill if required by the customer making the call.
Call charges are also displayed on the handset to ensure transparency in the transaction. Additionally, Idea will offer shared Internet access in these rural communities to provide an even broader range of data services, the release added.
"The GSM Association is supporting this launch by Idea Cellular, as well as other shared voice and data initiatives, because we believe this concept is the best way to bring the many benefits of mobile communications and Internet access to people who can't afford their own handset or computer," said Mr Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association, the global trade association for mobile operators.
"Our hope is that shared voice and shared data services will spread across India and other developing countries, providing major social and economic benefits to rural communities that have had limited access to telecommunications."
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