Dial US @ Re 1 Per Minute: Offer From VoIP Pioneer

Hyderabad: | Updated: Jan 23 2003, 05:30am hrs
A Re 1 per minute call to the US and Rs 1.5 for a call to the UK! With rapid changes taking place in the VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) business, international calls from India will become very cheap for end-users. Courtesy: Pioneer Talafone Private Ltd. The low-cost international call services will be ready by this week-end.

Hyderabad-based IDBI-funded IT solution company Pioneer Online has signed an agreement with Canada-based communication services company Talafone Communications to float a joint venture company, Pioneer Talafone Pvt Ltd, to be headquartered in Hyderabad. The pact, the first success story of the ongoing GITEX meet in Hyderabad, will be signed in the presence of Union communications and IT minister Pramod Mahajan and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

The 50:50 JV promises to offer VoIP services in India with an initial investment of $1 million as seed capital and plans to increase it to $10 million in the next one year. The investment will be used to set up 100 call centres at different locations to make international calls cost-effective.

While about 10 call centres will be set up in the next few days in Hyderabad, the remaining centres will be set up in next three months, Jihad Mohammad, president and CEO of Talafone said while addressing a press meet at GITEX. With the partnership, Pioneer Talafone aims to achieve $180 million revenue by 2006, he added.

Pioneer Online is targeting a Rs 100 crore revenue by 2005 by expanding its existing business, its managing director Shridhar Reddy said.