Uninor to Telenor: What's in a name?

By Ashee Sharma , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Marketing | September 24, 2015
  • 30
Telecom brand Uninor now has a new identity - Telenor. The brand will retain its 'Sabse Sasta' stance and focus on bringing more value to mass market consumers. The company has earmarked around Rs 80-100 crore for its marketing campaign. A look at the re-branding exercise and the accompanying communication - 'Ab life full paisa vasool' goes the new tagline.

Telenor Communications, a wholly owned company of the Norway-based Telenor Group, has been operating in India as 'Uninor' since 2009. The telecom company has hit refresh; it will now offer voice and data services under the brand name 'Telenor'.

L - R: Morten Karlsen Sorby (EVP and head of region Asia, Telenor), Vivek Sood (CEO, Telenor India) and Upanga Dutta (CMO, Telenor India) at Uninor re-branding

Uninor's old logo

Telenor's new logo

Upanga Dutta

The brand overhaul is a result of the Telenor Group increasing its stake in the Indian entity Unitech to 100 percent, last year.

The brand, which operates in six circles, will retain its 'Sabse Sasta' (most affordable) stance. According to Vivek Sood, CEO, Telenor India (formerly Telewings Communications Services), the approach has been profitable for the company, both, from a customer acquisition and revenue standpoint.

"Our three-pillar strategy, of being the best in basic services, mass market distribution and low cost operations, has helped us grow our market share to the fourth position - from the thirteenth - in less than six years," he states.

The company offers pre-paid voice and 2G internet services in its operational circles namely, UP (West), UP (East), Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. It will soon commence commercial operations in Assam.

To a metro-dweller looking to upgrade from 3G, Telenor's offering might be unattractive. However, it holds great value to the TG it caters to, insist its brand custodians. The "mass market," informs Sood, is interested in affordability and basic voice and data services. "In India, loyalties are driven by propositions, not by brands," he says.

Upanga Dutta, CMO, Telenor India, elaborates, "Our customers are not very tech-savvy and use data for basic social messaging. They want affordable services in a manner that is easily understood." With this development, Telenor India will continue to cater to this price-sensitive TG while extending its commitment to delivering 'fair' and 'easy' services, goes the case.

The effort includes increasing its retail presence across circles and mordernising the network with advanced technology solutions. Earlier this year, the company transformed all its call centers by introducing new tools for customer service. The multilingual *121# self-help menu, single IVR systems and better training of its staff, were among the steps taken.

"In India, loyalties are driven by propositions, not by brands." Vivek Sood, CEO, Telenor India
On the product front, the 'Rocket Recharge' (that offers customised tariff plans based on customers' usage patterns) was launched. The 'call drop reimbursement' has now been extended to STD and ISD calls, in addition to local calls. Plans to offer high-speed internet services for mass-market consumers are in the pipeline.

Making it known...

To communicate the change to its current and potential customers, Telenor India has rolled out a 360-degree marketing campaign. The new tagline is 'Ab life full paisa vasool'. Crafted by McCann Erickson, the campaign will run across television, print, outdoor and digital media.

"Our customers are not very tech-savvy and use data for basic social messaging." Upanga Dutta, CMO, Telenor India
The campaign is designed to appeal to the Indian customer who wants to "extract more value out of everything in life". Talking about the brief given to the agency, Upanga Dutta says, "We wanted our communication partners to help us extend our brand perception from being 'Sabse Sasta' to one that offers 'more value' to customers... a brand that works hard for the hardworking Indian." He hopes the communication will help widen the brand's user base.

The company has earmarked around Rs 80-100 crore for this campaign, which, during the transition phase, will run across national as well as regional media channels. Since Telenor India currently operates in limited circles, the focus will eventually shift to regional platforms.

The right place to be?

Mahesh Uppal

According to independent telecom analyst Mahesh Uppal, Telenor India is operating in the right segment as there is a large 2G market in the country. Nearly 80 per cent of the revenue in the telecom sector comes from this segment, he reminds us.

However, he feels the company will have to offer 3G/4G services as soon as possible. After all, the market harbours a fast-growing interest in, and need for, high-quality data services. "No player can expect to retain customers, in the long run, without offering acceptable data speeds... Auctions for the 3G spectrum are yet to be announced. In any case, the spectrum on offer may not be sufficient. And, of course, success in auctions is not guaranteed. I would expect Telenor to grow inorganically, possibly through mergers and acquisitions," says Uppal.

"I would expect Telenor to grow inorganically, possibly through mergers and acquisitions." Mahesh Uppal, telecom analyst
When asked to opine on the positioning (most affordable service provider), he notes that Telenor, and other new players, need to offer affordable prices in order to infiltrate a competitive market full of strong incumbents. According to Uppal, doing so should not be difficult for the brand. "Being a new player, its spectrum is, perhaps, not under the kind of pressure that its competitors face due to a much larger number of subscribers," he says.

Search Tags

© 2015 afaqs!