Tata Teleservices chalks out gameplan to push its telephony brand in Tamil Nadu

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Last updated : April 20, 2002
Basic telecom operator Tata Teleservices hopes to make an impression with a focused communication strategy rather than an ambiguous brand-led approach

Private sector basic telecom operator Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTL) has announced its plans for launching its services in Tamil Nadu. The company will start operating in the state in the third quarter of this year and will initially launch its services in the bigger cities of Chennai and Coimbatore and cover up to 25 cities in Phase I scheduled to be completed by mid-2003. Over the next seven years it will cover the whole of Tamil Nadu. For the record, the unlisted TTL, part of the salt-to-software Tata Group, the country's second-largest conglomerate, now offers fixed-line phone services to 150,000 subscribers in the southern province of Andhra Pradesh.

With a telephone density of just a little more than four phones for 100 people and most phone users served by two state-run giants Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, the Indian market offers new players such as Tata a huge growth potential.

Of TTL's product offerings - comprising wireline, fixed wireless, data services and limited mobility - the limited mobility solution branded Mobilink would be of special appeal to a wider section of consumers, as it would provide the mobility advantage of a cellular
phone and have the call rates of a regular landline. The mobility services would be accessible through CDMA handsets, which would be made available immediately.

"We will take a focused approach to our services," said Balachandran. There is no point in adopting a cafeteria-like approach that just seeks to announce that we have xyz services and consumers can opt for what they desire. We will look at direct marketing and a targeted communication strategy for our wireline offering for corporates and industry, whereas for wireless we would focus on mass media. Initially, of course, we will restrict our communication to print as there is no point in splurging money on television."

Just the way Rediffusion handles the Bharti account nationally and O&M handles Hutchison, TTL has been working with RK Swamy/BBDO for over a year now. "RK Swamy/BBDO has delivered a highly noticeable campaign for us that has worked well in the AP market," he said. He also brushed aside concerns over the Bharti brand's higher visibility. "After all, they are known only for their mobile services and the Tata brand is very well-established in the consumer psyche and represents a very diversified and successful group."

S Ramakrishnan, managing director, TTL, indicated that the company was looking at the three software exporting southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as key markets. Balachandran added, "We hope to make an impression on our consumers with our focused communication strategy rather than just an ambiguous brand-led approach. At the end of the day, what I do is more important than what I say."

For its business customers in TN, the company would offer customised telecom solutions for various business verticals. Commenting on the approach of the company, R Balachandran, COO, TTL - TN Circle, said, "TN is one of the most industrialised and developed states in India. It has the third largest state domestic product and accounts for over 7 per cent of the country's GDP. It has the most thriving IT industry that is well distributed across industries. Hence, we feel that this will be a very crucial market for us."

Interestingly, Bharti, the country's number one private telecom group, this month became the first private firm to launch fixed-line services in Tamil Nadu and in Karnataka, whose capital, Bangalore, is considered India's technology hub.

On its turn TTL plans to roll out an aggressive marketing campaign to establish its brand. It has allocated an investment of Rs 1,000 crore in the first five years to lay out a 2,300 km (1,438 miles) optic-fibre backbone across the state. The company aims to have 500,000 subscribers in the state by 2007. It plans to invest Rs 6,350 crore over the next five years to expand its fixed-line services into five other provinces. It hopes to expand its subscriber base 40 times to about six million. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

First Published : April 20, 2002
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