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88,000 Reliance phones for HLL

Kauik Datta & Ishita Ayan Dutt in Kolkata | July 11, 2003 12:22 IST

Hindustan Lever Ltd has placed an order for 88,000 wireless-in-local-loop connections with handsets from Reliance Infocomm in the largest deal in the Indian telecom industry.

Sources close to the development said Hindustan Lever would use the limited mobility handsets and connections for a massive promotional campaign in the coming months.

Hindustan Lever's large customer base provides the opportunity to offer the phones through promotions and contests. Through recent initiatives like pre-packaged hampers and e-tailing deals, the company has been seeking to move up the value chain.

A Hindustan Lever spokesperson, in response to an e-mail from Business Standard, said the company had no comments on the issue.

The order comes at a time when Reliance Infocomm is already offering a special scheme, Monsoon Hungama, which bundles a connection and a handset for an upfront payment of Rs 501.

The sources said Reliance's deal with Hindustan Lever offered greater value than the Hungama scheme. "The size of the deal indicates a good bargain," one of them pointed out.

Hindustan Lever would receive the deliveries at various locations to save on the costs involved in transporting the phones and in configuring them for the Reliance Infocomm network, the sources explained.

Industry sources said the Hindustan Lever order was significant because it paved the way for such deals involving other big fast-moving consumer product companies.

Companies seeking to go in for big-ticket promotions could now be expected to strike similar deals with phone service providers offering both limited and unlimited mobility.

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