Monday, January 17, 2005

A movement to revolutionize PCO's?

He is credited with drastically altering the telephony scene in India via the PCO revolution, which also provided employment to so many. However with the entry of private operators on the scene, and the resultant dip in rates for long-distance calls, has made the PCO business unviable for many operators. It was in a way the new openness in the Indian economy threatening to wipe out the inefficiencies of the old license Raj based systems.

Now Sam Pitroda is hoping to re-invent the PCO's. In his new avatar as a private entrepreneur (appropriate in the new age of privatization too!) he hopes to enable the humble PCO offer a range of services of high relevance in the net-enabled economy of today so that you can, "rely on the ubiquitous local phone booths to buy tickets, pre-paid shopping cards, money order/transfer, person-to-person transactions and even make bill payments".

C-Sam Inc, US, a company founded by Pitroda, along with the state-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd has launched MerchantWallet and OneWallet, secure payment and transaction platforms for fixed line and mobile phone users, respectively.

The transaction platform will allow mobile phone users to securely load an empty wallet and create a personalised account at a web-based transaction portal. MTNL OneWallet is a software which stores soft versions of cards - credit, debit, identity, travel, medical and phone cards.