This is a candid user feedback on the prepaid mobile recharge web services in India. I tried 3 websites and got frustrated before writing this post. Here are some suggestions for Mobikwik, RechargeItNow etc.

  1. Do not ask me for operator and circle details. Get it from my mobile no.
  2. By default take me to details page of my home state. Track my IP address to get my home state. A lot of travel sites are doing this very well.
  3. Do not ask me to register. You have my mobile no. and you can always send me a validation code through SMS as a password. Even travel sites give an “i am in a hurry” option for one time users. You should provide me some value add on to register.
  4. Keep all the details and information of every recharge available. You must realise that people in India normally use internet for information and research. Mobile recharge is a standard product like Railway tickets and stock trading so the more info you give the better community you will be able to develop around it. You need to develop a value differentiator and the user must be able to notice it.
  5. And also i don’t think it is good to charge anything extra above the MRP when you are already earning good commission. In fact, how about discounts as a differentiator?

Of course not to mention that if telecom operators start maintaining their sites for proper recharge facility then users would never have to look anywhere else. Also the telecom operators would be saving a lot in the commission they pay to resellers even after discounting the payment gateway commission.

I have tried Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance and Idea’s website for Online prepaid recharge and must admit, only Idea lived upto my expectations. Idea has tied up with Billdesk.com for billing.

Airtel only allows Credit Card payments that too through Mchek and the Interface is the same as the one they provide on Mobile. The interface is too small (visually) for web (that too is facing some problem and is down for now).

Reliance provides link to some outdated pages of some banks. They still refer Axis Bank as UTI Bank. My personal experience says Reliance ADAG is the lamest company in terms of web technology whether it is Reliance Money or Reliance Communication.

Also the telecom operators should tie up with all banks and allow debit card payments. The no. of internet using prepaid customers who own a debit card is really huge, almost all the college students in India and by giving even a 1% discount to such audience one can easily attract a huge user base as these users are very value conscious.

What’s your opinion?

[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He writes at The Inspire Blog]