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Motorola to offer services via post offices

March 25, 2006 07:36 IST

Besides selling postal stamps and envelopes and despatching money orders, your neighbourhood post office will be hawking cellphones and airtime, if an idea by Motorola takes wings.

The US-based global telecommunications major is mulling selling of telecom products and services through a wide network of 135,000 post offices to target even the remotest locales in the country.

Confirming this, Motorola India Chairman Firdose Vandrevala said distribution was one of the most difficult aspects in selling equipment and services in the country and the company was looking at unconventional ways of selling its products in the country.

"Apart from vendors and carriers, there is a need for a third party to help us reach the remotest locations in the country. Looking at India as a mass market, we need someone to distribute handsets and services locally, and also for bill collection," Vandrevala said.

This initiative of Motorola is in line with its earlier signing up of ITC's e-choupals and DCM Hariyalli.

"This is only in the planning stage, and we are yet to begin significant talks with the government. The idea has been mooted, and now we have to set the ball rolling," he said.

Motorola would look at selling its handsets, set-top boxes and recharge vouchers through post offices. Although it does not sell telephony services, the company is planning to tie up with service providers and enter into a bundling agreement.

If the proposal goes through, this could be a win-win situation for both the postal department and Motorola. For the postal department, this means additional revenues and that too at a time when its conventional revenues are drying up because of the spread of Internet and e-mail. This will ensure that the department's revenues continue to trickle in.

Earlier, a similar proposal to sell over-the-counter drugs by pharmaceutical majors and another by the business development cell of Mumbai's general post office to distribute cashew nuts, herbal products and financial products of ICICI Bank, GE Money and Hallmark Greeting Cards were also put forth.

According to sources, these proposals are under government consideration.

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Rajesh S Kurup in Mumbai