Postmen to take up verification of new customers

Thomas K. Thomas

Two-way advantage

Operators to

leverage Postal Dept's nationwide network

Additional

revenues for the Dept

New Delhi, April 28

The friendly neighbourhood postmen could be doing more than just delivering letters.

In a unique alliance, the private cellular operators have struck a deal with the Department of Post to leverage its nationwide network to promote mobile services, especially in the rural areas.

To start with, the private operators have passed on the job of customer verification to the Department before issuing a new connection. The discussion between the DoP and the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), which is acting on behalf of the industry, is in its final stages.

Confirming the development Mr T.V. Ramachandran, Director-General, COAI, said, "This is just the beginning of the alliance with India Post. We will expand the scope of this relationship in the next few months whereby we can use the unmatched postal network spread across the nook and corner of the country. With the kind of reach that the DoP has, it will be useful as operators roll out services in the rural sector."

Move to cut deficit

For the cash-strapped DoP this will bring additional revenues. For instance, every time a postman verifies the whereabouts of a subscriber, the Department will get a fixed amount which is yet to be determined.

It is also tying up with financial service providers to sell their products through post offices.

The Department is also looking at the retail space to make use of its presence across the country.

All this is part of its initiatives to bring down the budget deficit of Rs 1,400 crore.

At present, most operators have outsourced this activity to various local agencies.

The DoP has earlier provided support to the Election Commission to prepare the electoral list.

As a matter of security, the Government has recently made the verification of subscribers very stringent even for pre-paid card users.

The Department of Telecom has also set up a special cell to monitor the verification process.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 29, 2006)
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