Posts Tagged 'Tata Indicom'

India Telecom Wars Roundup

I have not been writing about the ongoing telecom wars because I was kind of waiting to see how actions-reactions play out and what track all the new and existing players take….

Today, this article is prompted by something that I saw while I was driving back home. Inoticed a large hoardng that announced “MTS launches 0.5p/sec for entire Karnataka on all networks” and I almost let out a whistle..wow, that is cheap and it takes the telecom wars to a new circle. Is this a desperate attempt of a new entrant with a large wherewithal in the global market, willing to rough it out for the sake of long term.

Tata Docomo focusses on “full value recharge” and Tata Indicom showcases its “digital clarity” in prime time advertisements, but both skirt the main issue in the air – lack of good network reach!

Airtel, in the meanwhile, launched its one second pulse and matched the competitors, after waiting for two months and losing its #1 status on per month new user additions. Vodafone, Idea and Reliance followed suit. I have to say this though, Reliance needs to stop blatant copying of ads and get creative. Their per second ads look exactly like Docomo’s minus the jazz. Tata Docomo as well as Tata Indicom, I must say, hats off to the creative team at Ulka and Lodestar Universal. But the networks need to execute on the hype – FAST. (Aside: Tata Docomo’s  friendship train ad by Ulka has no relevance. The tune is catchy and the picturization is good, but I fail to get the point…and I love the “digital clarity” ad campaign by Tata Indicom showcasing how the advanced network clarity conveys not only voice but the emotions behind it also…great work Lodestar)

BSNL was surprisingly proactive, launching the per second pulse offer just following the Tata Docomo splash! Not sure, how many takers it got. Somehow, their branding effort with insipid advertising and mishandling of the “first mover advantage of the 3G” has made them the laughing stock of the town, so not sure how many people jump at their offers anymore!

Well, to begin with, I need to admire the power of free markets. Without regulation the entire ecosystem has jumped on a bandwagon rolled by one player, that can be “visibly” beneficial to the customer. What’s next, then? Call for free and we will play ads every 30 secs while you speak? Any takers?

Tata Indicom Launches Per Call Billing

Even as the GSM arm of Tata’s experiments with the per second billing model in India in partnership with Docomo, the CDMA arm, Tata Indicom, has launched a innovative plan of “Per Call” based billing in local networks. This is a revolutionary concept and could probably be a last ditch effort on the part of Tata Indicom to increase its shrinking customer base.

However, the problem of signal non-availability plauges both the Tata networks alike and as I have mentioned in a couple of blogs earlier too, just decreasing the price for a call is not a sufficient enough reason for most consumers to switch. These marketing tactics without a long term focus on improving signal reach will only win them a transient customer base, at best. Connectivity in today’s world is assumed to be ubiquitious and when consumers want to reach each other in a timely manner they will not put up with nice sounding “not reachable” messages.

Ta-ta Indicom

Tata Indicom, a telecom operator in India, has been running a series of ads in India with different settings, like a restaurant, election campaign etc. and in each context the protagonist is interspersing his sentences with “hello”, “hello” and their tagline – “bad networks can cause this to you”…brilliant, huh?

Well, not so fast…this has an interesting history for me. I bought a CDMA Tata Indicom connection 6 years ago, found the network connectivity to be below par, in turn causing me to say “hello”, “hello” on the phone several times…notwithstanding, the year long struggle to get my fixed deposit back from them for the handset, which I had returned within a month purchase!

So, now that Tata Indicom, of all players has launched this ad, it kind of seems hilariously funny and misguided to me. Although, branding is a crucial and important aspect for a service, one should know who they are and what they stand for and amplify that in their messages. Sending out messages like this, will result in posts and outcries like this and at best, smirks from the customers – WHO KNOW THE TRUTH. Word of mouth about the ad will not do them any good either, because people will refer to it in the context of “I don’t believe they are running such an ad” vs if they had run something like “value for money” or “international calls at the best rates” or “access cool services” – I might have thought, ah! I don’t know about this, I guess they have all these cool offerings and have gone my own way. I would think this is an example of “negative branding exercise” in action….

What do you think?


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