| Flight of fancy
New Delhi, April 18: Designer cars, clothes, houses and now phones.
Bharti Teletech, the manufacturing arm of the Bharti Group which specialises in telephone instruments, is all set to provide the opportunity of designing your phone.
The company has started an effort in this regard by connecting its vendors, design shop, research and development centre, channel partners and the retail outlets through a virtual private network (VPN).
Speaking about the future growth path of Bharti’s Teletech, Rakesh Bharti Mittal, the vice-chairman and managing director of Bharti Enterprises, said, “It is an effort to manage the energies and channelise them to develop the best products to meet the demands of customers who now want quality and style.”
“Setting up the VPN was essential to our goal. We will connect our distributors and vendors by July this year. We are also launching a six-month training programme for our channel partners later this year on how to interact with customers and for efficient selling systems,” said Mittal.
Among the other major initiatives planned by the company is to develop a cordless phone that can give a coverage of up to 500 metres. “Bharti Teletech as a company and with various other organisations like Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association of India has approached the wireless planning commission and also the government to permit the manufacture of this phone in India,” said Mittal.
Currently, telephone instrument makers are allowed to make cordless phones that can offer coverage of only 100 metres with a spectrum limit of 46-49 megahertz. A cordless phone with a capability to offer coverage up to 500 metres needs a spectrum clearance of 2.4 giga hertz.
The company is also planning to launch a swap policy for the phones under warranty period. Mittal said, “ Earlier, the customers accepted whatever quality and style that was offered. Now they demand and also seek customisation. We have been able to meet these demands and thus have a leadership with over a 30 per cent share in the open retail market. We are hoping to quicken the pace of growth significantly to achieve the third 10-million mark by 2005.”
“We feel that this is an achievable target, given two clear trends,” said Mittal. First, the Indian telephone market has been growing at 20 per cent and above consistently for the last five years, thanks to the telephone penetration targets of 7 per cent by 2005 and 15 per cent by 2010 (from the present level of 3 per cent) set by the New Telecom Policy, 1999.”
Bharti Teletech has a dominant leadership position in all three segments of the domestic telephone market — the tender market comprising purchases by Bharat Sanchar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam, the open retail market and the nascent private (basic) service providers market.
The company currently exports telephones to over 25 countries covering five continents, including the US, East Europe, West Asia, and South Asia. Exports this year have doubled to constitute about 10 per cent of total production against 5 per cent a year ago.
“We offer the widest portfolio of products across price points ranging from Rs 395 for basic phones to Rs 3,000 for high-end feature phones. Currently, there are 22 products in our portfolio and we plan to add another six in the current fiscal. Each year about two to three models are phased out as new models take up the volumes,” said Mittal.
Bharti Teletech is the only domestic company to have indigenously designed and manufactured caller line identification phones with speaker functions.
Bharti Teletech is also planning to shortly launch the latest Beetel model that will enable the SMS facility on basic fixed line telephones. For this, the company is test marketing the model with a few basic services providers. It also plans to hawk GSM mobile phones through its channel partners and is in final stages of negotiations with Nokia and Motorola.