Reliance WebWorld Express Set To Enter Small Towns

Mumbai | Updated: Mar 29 2004, 05:30am hrs
Reliance Infocomm has drawn up its plan for the WebWorld Express retail project which is expected to increase visibility and penetration for its Reliance IndiaMobile (RIM) service. The company will have over 1500 such outlets which will be spread across smaller towns in India.

WebWorld Express will be smaller in size since it will restrict itself to being a sales and service point for the RIM service.

It is learnt that the company is still looking for ways to offer other services depending on the response that WebWorld Express initially generates. Company officials said it would be completed by the end of the next financial year (March 31, 2005).

Reliance Infocomm is working to launch the first store in about a month. Officials said WebWorld Express will be part of the Reliance WebWorld family and will be based on the same business model. The outlets will be based on the C3 model - Customer Convenience Centre. Interestingly, WebWorld Express will have a mix of both the company-owned and franchisee models. This is an attempt to reduce risk and facilitate easier management of the project. As reported earlier, the impending petrol pumps project will also have Webworld Express outlets at the pumps.

Reliance WebWorld, on its own, today has over 250 outlets across India which act as outlets for the wireless service, apart from offering a host of convergence and broadband-related services. Among these are gaming, video chat, video conferenecing, digital music and music downloading. Reliance WebWorld outlets also offer the Java Green service which is part of its Food and Beverage (F&B) offering. The retail plan is said to be a significant part of Reliance Infocomms overall convergence project.

The company launched its RIM service a year ago and is expected to move forward on the other components of the broadband arena. A backbone network to the extent of 60,000 kilometres of optic fibre cable (OFC) will offer the consumer both retail and enterprise services.

Reliance Industries Ltd, which holds a 45 per cent stake in Reliance Infocomm, has invested about Rs 8,500 crore in the infocomm project.