Idea has come up with an innovative offer for the pre paid customers across the country that allows a user to get a hassle free recharge without vouchers. But how is their offer different from Airtel’s? The denomination is as low as Rs 10 and as high as Rs 10,000. Airtel is presently providing the top up with Rs 50 as the lowest denomination.
With Flexi-Charge, a customer can just walk in to Idea retail outlets, pay any amount between Rs 10 and Rs 10,000 and ask the retailer to recharge them without any hassles. You don’t need a voucher for this and to confirm that the card has been recharged an SMS will be sent to you.
Vikram Mehmi, CEO, Idea Cellular, said: “Flexi charge offers great benefits to the distribution channel and helps us in managing better logistics thereby reducing costs. Therefore, idea also provides more value to its trade partners.”
On the marketing rationale, Sukanta Dey, Chief Marketing Officer, Idea, said: “There are people who don’t want fixed denominations. So all he needs to do is tell his retailer that he wants a certain amount and immediately he can get the card recharged. So this a retailer as well as customer-friendly offer.”
How is this offer different from that of Airtel’s? “We have kept the lowest denomination at Rs 10 and highest denomination at Rs 10,000. So we are the first to keep the denomination as low as this. With this feature we are providing more flexibility to the customers,” he said.
This offer has currently been implemented in the five idea circles (Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra) and would soon be launched in Haryana, Kerala and UP (West) circles. This remote recharge will retain all benefits of their home tariffs, without customers having to carry vouchers from home.
Asked why did Idea brought this facility so late, Dey said: “We wanted the market to mature and did not want to rush into it. We wanted the retailers to be comfortable and were waiting for the right opportunity.”
So how would a denomination of Rs 10 help considering that it would mean just two phone calls? Dey says, “It makes perfect sense. With just Rs 10 you can send a lot of SMS, so if a customer just wants to send SMS he can avail the facility. We have worked this out on the same principle as STD booths, wherein a customer puts Re 1 to make a call.”
Airtel was the first to introduce top-up charge system. The company, however, is not planning to drop the denomination further. “We were the first to start the e-top-up system in the country. This was primarily in keeping with the needs of our customers. We had already dropped the option from Rs 350 to Rs 50, which in itself is a huge drop. Hence, we don’t feel that our customers need the option of Rs10,” said Prateek Pota, VP, Marketing, Mobility, Airtel.