Vodafone is in talks with a state election commission to provide customised communication services, including a monitoring system that would allow the election commissioner to see as many as 22,000 polling booths at one shot, as India’s second largest telco bets on its enterprise business to drive growth.
The talks with the election commission include a mechanism to facilitate payments to all volunteers directly via Vodafone’s mobile wallet, Nick Gliddon, director for business services at Vodafone India, said without naming the state.
Vodafone is looking to beef up its enterprise services at a time when its retail mobile business is under intense competitive pressure after the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm.
Vodafone, which worked with the election commission during recent polls in certain places, is also tying up with microfinance firms and startups.
Vodafone Business Services contributed 16.4% of Vodafone India revenues in the first half of the current fiscal year. Its enterprise vertical is growing at twice the rate of the industry.
Experts said this vertical would be a key growth driver for the industry. “Mobility business is reshaping itself in the midst of slower customer additions, dipping data margins, challenges from OTT (over-the-top) players among others.
Enterprise business is expected to be a significant growth contributor in the future,” said Jaideep Ghosh, chief operating officer for management consulting at KPMG in India.
Gliddon said the company has tied up with Bharat Financial Inclusion (erstwhile SKS Microfinance) and Muthoot MFI for disbursement, collection and digitisation of loans.
“The digital disbursement and collection through M-Pesa has enabled speedy micro-loan disbursement by MFIs (microfinance institutions) and weekly/monthly collection of micro-EMI payments by borrowers,” he told ET.
“Digitisation has also eliminated cash carrying and cashtransit risk for the MFIs.” Vodafone launched its MFI pilot in June 2014.
Since then, it has expanded operations to eight states. Jaipur Rugs, the country’s largest rug manufacturer, now pays artisans via MPesa mobile wallets. Vodafone also works with Water-Health India to collect cash from across 450 locations in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.