Pratik Jalan is the director of TeleTalk Pvt Ltd. The latest addition to the organisational umbrella of Lucky Group, TeleTalk Pvt Ltd was established to cater to the rapidly growing Telecommunication and IT sector in Nepal. As the sole authorised distributor of Spice Mobile Phones for Nepal, the firm operates through a large distributor and retailer base across the country. Celebrity Malvika Subba had a tête-à-tête with him. Excerpts:
It’s been three years since TeleTalk Pvt Ltd was established. What are the products that have been launched so far?
We started off with the launch of Spice Mobiles in Nepal and were the first company to launch Spice Mobiles outside India. We are the sole distributor for this Indian brand. Then we added our own brand called Colors Mobile. We are manufacturing it in
China and it is already in distribution in Nepal. We are trying to get international branding and have it launched outside Nepal besides India. In addition to HTC, now we are doing Value Added Service (VAS) with Nepal Telecom. We are also starting off with readymade garment export.
Tell us more about the VAS system?
As opposed to other companies, we are the only one with a complete VAS system. We do buzz missed call alerts, voice chats, etcetera. We also conduct various contests. We are planning to launch premium SMSes like news and jokes. That will be on a monthly subscription basis. We are the first company trying to get the monthly VAS system up and running.
How do you do your research for launching any product?
For the Nepali market, VAS is still a newborn baby. We take the experience from the Indian market and other South East Asian market. With the cultural and market similarities, we can always make out what will work and what will not. For Nepal, of course you have to start off with the basic facilities that people need the most and then move on to more modern facilities over time.
Will the VAS be in Nepali as well?
With the limitation of the handsets, most of the services cannot be in Nepali. The voiceover can be in Nepali but
it will not be possible in SMSes and other services.
Most Nepalis don’t know how to read and send SMSes. Wouldn’t that be a hindrance for such services?
Well, the urban population is also quite high. Kathmandu alone constitutes of over 15 per cent of the total population of the country. Then there is Pokhara and other major cities. Basically we have to see the operations penetration for VAS, it is not about the market. What matters is total market penetration for all the five operators and that would be around 10 million. Actually people are so used to technology that they can read basic SMS, even if they are not fluent in English. And then we also have services in which we have Nepali voice over. With the help of voice technology, we can bypass the language barrier.
So are these services available all over Nepal?
It is available for all Nepal Telecom subscribers. We have the reach from Mechi to Mahakali.
What are the future plans of TeleTalk?
We are trying to get few other high-end handset brands which are not in the market at the moment. If we are able to do that, we would cover all three segments from low, mid and high-end brands. For high-end brands, people are still getting it from outside Nepal. If we can be the authorised dealer, it would be easier for such users.
What are the challenges in your job and how do you overcome them?
When we launched TeleTalk, we were one of the first companies to go into organised distribution for the mobile handset business. There are challenges in terms of new competition, but that is what keeps us on our toes. The Nepali market has grown so much in terms of after sales service and providing the best is the biggest challenge at the moment. We cannot sell handsets without warranties. We have more people in after sales service than sales. I believe we are the only company with more than 15 service centres all over Nepal.