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MTNL on marketing overdrive

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) plans to restructure its tariffs and step up marketing efforts for its special services. MTNL plans to aggressively market its intelligent network (IN) services, which allow the called party to make money from incoming calls. MTNL's CMD S Rajagopalan expects its revenue to soar through the stepped-up efforts

Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) plans to restructure its tariffs and step up marketing efforts for its special services. MTNL plans to aggressively market its intelligent network (IN) services, which allow the called party to make money from incoming calls. MTNL's CMD S Rajagopalan expects its revenue to soar through the stepped-up efforts.
Through the IN system, subscribers can rent special numbers for which the tariff charged is Re 1.20 per two-second pulse. Of this, the subscriber gets 70 paise and the MTNL keeps 50 paise. This works out to be Rs 36 per minute for the caller.
The MTNL brass acknowledge that only 30 or 40 subscribers have opted for this scheme since it has been made available. Rajagopalan intends to initiate marketing efforts very soon and change the tariffs to make the scheme more attractive.
For starters, the deposit charged now may be done away with or reduced drastically.
Rajagopalan says the concept of deposits suggested a lack of trust on the subscriber. Second, he sees a huge potential on TV, which he feels can generate calls with some its programmes designed around telephone calls.
For example, a quiz show offering big prizes could hope to draw hundreds of callers every week. The calls can be answered through a taped set of questions. The questions would be designed to make each call last at least a couple of minutes. Thus each call would bring in revenue of Rs 21 per minute. If a show received 10,000 such calls in a week, the show would make Rs 0.21 mn even before advertising revenue starts flowing in.
In the west, such schemes draw vast numbers of callers every week.
If you think such programmes can jam the telephone network, MTNL has an answer. The IN system is designed to take the extra load off the main network. The network is linked to a centralised call receiving hub, in which all calls on the special numbers - from whichever exchange they are made - are diverted.
The rest are handled by computers. The entire process involves minimum human interaction and the billing process also becomes streamlined automatically.

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