Freecharge.in is a patent pending online service for prepaid mobile recharge that makes the recharge virtually free by offering equal amount in retail coupons.
If a user recharges his prepaid connection for Rs100 by paying for it online he will also receive discount coupons worth Rs 100 that he can avail at any of the listed retailers.
Currently the site offers coupons of McDonald and Barista only. But they expect to add more retailers to the list soon. The company plans to offer multiplex tickets, gaming zone coupons and apparel purchase coupons soon.
Accelyst solutions, the company behind Freecharge, is a strategic marketing company working with some of India's top retailers. Freecharge is currently seed funded by Tandon Group, members of the Mumbai Angels. The team has acquired a 'patent pending' status for their business model.
Kunal Shah, managing director , Accelyst Solutions said , "The potential of ecommerce in India cannot be doubted, though the lack of successful e-commerce companies in India mostly owes to the fact that companies do not invest enough resources in gaining insight about consumer behaviour. At Freecharge we have taken this challenge head on and are constantly working towards improving user experience."
The online prepaid recharge business currently contributes to less than one per cent of the total prepaid recharge but given the volumes of the Indian telecom industry even this amount runs in over hundreds of Crores.
The model seems to be loosely based on Tata Teleservices T24, which is a mobile service jointly offered by Future group and TTSL. The service aims to make mobile calling free by offering vouchers of Future groups retail arms.
Freecharge model makes it more attractive as they offer similar service for all the mobile customers. However given that oraginsed retail is a purely urban phenomenon, the application will broadly benefit mobile subscribers in bigger urban centres only.
"We started before T24 was launched, we planned to launch services in march, but tie-up with service providers took some time. More over T24 limits you to one service provider, one retailer, while we plan to offer multiple service provider and multiple retail channels" Naman Sarawagi Head Of Marketing, Accelyst Solutions said.
Taking about the future plans Naman said, " We plan to offer DTH recharge going forward, one year down the line we also plan to go offline, with Kiosks at leading Malls and shopping complexes where coupons will be offered related to that particular mall and shopping complex".
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