Almost all mobile service operators in India offer facilities to recharge their prepaid accounts online through credit card, bank transfer and other payment options. A number of startups around the online recharge business has also emerged that offer these services along with a number of lucrative schemes like discounts and cash backs. Indian startups watchdog Plugged.in has alerted us of a new online recharge service named Freecharge.in whose unique discount coupons allow customers to recharge their accounts virtually free of cost.
This is how it works - you buy recharge amount for your mobile prepaid account, and Freecharge replenishes that amount in the form of coupons to top Indian food joints and retailers worth equal amount of what you have recharged. The coupons are delivered to you at your doorstep. In essence, you receive back what you have paid for your mobile recharge thereby making your mobile recharge free.
Currently you can get discount coupon codes for McDonald’s, Cafe Coffee Day, Baskin Robbins, Domino’s Pizza, Naaptol, Croma, Timezone and Shoppers Stop. Coupons start from Rs 50 to Rs 200 and you can add multiple coupons, up to 4 from a single brand, until the total value of the coupons tallies your recharge amount.
Each coupon has their own terms and service. For example, the Rs 50 McDonald coupon can get you either a McVeggie, or Medium Fries or Large Coke when you purchase any McDonald product of Rs 50 or above. The coupons also have a validity date. The McDonald one, for instance, is valid till April 30, 2011 (at the time of this writing). This is something you should look out for when you choose coupons to receive. A coupon that arrives a week after it expires has no value.
Mobile recharge for virtually every telecom operator operating in India is available at Freecharge.in - Airtel, DoCoMo, Reliance, Loop, Vodafone, Idea, Tata Indicom, Aircel, Virgin, S-Tel, Videocon, Uninor, MTS, Trump, Indicom Walky, BSNL and others.
In India more than 90% of mobile subscribers are on prepaid plans, yet the online mobile recharge business contributes to less than 1% of the total prepaid recharge. Maybe startups such as Freecharge can help improve that figure.
So will you use them, or have you used them already?