Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) plans to launch Internet pay phone machines, which will allow a consumer to use his credit card to make STD and ISD calls and to access the Internet. Currently, MTNL is running a pilot test with 50 such machines in Mumbai and Delhi.
According to MTNL, if the pilot test succeeds, it will get into branding and marketing these machines to independent public call booth operators in a big way. The machine has already been demonstrated to the STD-PCO Operators’ Association.
Currently, MTNL is advertising the machines as being ideal for airports, hotels, clubs and hospitals. The Internet pay phone machines are being imported from a Canadian telecom company through a joint venture between MTNL and the Indian Telephone Industries (ITI), Bangalore.
Fitted with a magnetic card reader, these machines accept Visa and Master affiliated credit cards. MTNL has also tied up with Standard Chartered bank, which does an online authentication of the customer’s credit card.
In Delhi MTNL has already installed the machines at places like the India International Centre, India Habitat Centre, Batra Hospital, Apollo Hospital, Central Cottage Emporium and Indira Gandhi International Airport. Plans are afoot to put another one at the Delhi Golf Club.