Vodafone competing strategy

British mobile giant Vodafone, which is likely to complete the Hutch-Essar shortly is understood to be keen to bring some of its popular services to India after it concludes the transaction so as to grab a higher share in the World’s fastest growing wireless market.

The world’s largest mobile player could bring some of its most popular offerings such as Vodafone Passport, Vodafone Simply and Vodafone Live, besides other common services like video calling, video messaging and mobile television.

Vodafone Passport allows customers to take their domestic tariff plan abroad for a nominal connection fee to be added per call. Given that the roaming charges in India are still high even after the recent reductions by regulator TRAI, Passport could be of much help to Indians frequently visiting abroad.

There are more than 10 million Passport customers in Europe, the sources said, adding such a service could become popular in the country.

Vodafone indicated that they will make their specific plans in terms of products and services clear when the transaction is completed and after discussions with their management team.

Shareholders of Hutchison Telecom International Ltd will vote on selling its 67 per cent stake to Vodafone on March 9. If the approval of Foreign Investment Promotion Board comes early, the deal could close by April ’07 first week.

Vodafone Simply, which offers basic mobile phone services and is used only for voice calls and text messages, could be another useful tool that the company can deploy, especially in rural areas.

Since the UK firm is planning a rural push and sees low mobile penetration as a big opportunity for getting more market share, Vodafone Simply would be an appropriate tool for low-end users.

But it is not just simple services, the UK major may also show its Third Generation (3G) mobile technology prowess through a simple, on-screen menu and the latest multimedia phones — ‘Vodafone Live!’. A 3G service would enable customers to send and receive larger pieces of information in voice, text and pictures, as well as video and music.

Vodafone has also tied with Chinese company ZTE and would introduce low-cost handsets to capture more subscribers. It may also look at the possibility of tying up with vendors having a manufacturing plant in the country.

Vodafone as a part of its strategy for marketing its services has entered into a three-year non-compete agreement with Hutchison Telecom International Ltd (HTIL).

HTIL board of directors, in a letter to shareholders, said the company has entered into a three-year agreement with Vodafone, pursuant to which the Hong-Kong-based firm would not carry on any business in competition to Hutch-Essar in the country.
HTIL cannot enter any business in India, establishment of telecom services or related infrastructure facilities or equipment.