Cellular Majors Brush Up Act With Fourth Player

Mumbai: | Updated: Jul 31 2002, 05:30am hrs
With the recent entry of Airtel in the Mumbai circle, competition is hotting up. Predictably, a marketing war is brewing as lead players

in this segment namely MTNL, BPL Mobile and Orange are charting out new game plans to take on the fourth operator.

So what’s BPL Mobile’s reaction to the entry of a new player On the arrival of a new player, says Mr Deepak Varma, chief operating officer (COO), BPL Mobile: “The entry of Airtel is going to help us expand the market for cell phones in India. So, with Airtel, we will now expand the category. As an individual company, our focus will be on how to offer value-added services to our subscribers.”

At present, BPL Mobile has over five lakh subscribers in Mumbai.

As part of its future plans, BPL Mobile is planning to roll out a new service called ‘Multi-media Messaging Service (MMS) very soon. “Through this service, we can even take colour graphics to mobile phones. Also, we will be setting up 100 more cell sites and a ‘third switch’ in the near future, “ informs Mr Varma.

The accent is on ‘integrated marketing plans’ in the cellular service providers markets in India. In tune with the current trends, BPL Mobile plans to use an integrated communication package to promote its services.

“In an effort to showcase the merits of our services, we will look at mass media advertising, direct marketing and outdoor media plans,” adds Mr Varma.

MTNL, on the other hand, is putting in place its marketing plans to promote ‘Dolphin’ amidst stiff competition. Says Mr AK Saxena, general manager, (GSM-II), MTNL: “We will finalise our expansion plans by October this year. Currently, we are putting in place our technical plans. After this, we will make our marketing plans in sync with our technical advances.”

At present, MTNL is drawing up an aggressive marketing strategy to promote its pre-paid cards called ‘Trump’. As part of its strategy, MTNL plans to expand its franchisees to promote Dolphin. “To attract the attention of people, we have recently put up ‘Pole Kiosks’ at principal locations,” adds Mr Saxena.

With the recent entry of Airtel, established players in the cellular world are now stepping up their brand-building exercises to retain existing customers, opine analysts.

“Airtel has now entered with a big bang with new consumer offerings. The company must have earmarked a mega adbudet to promote the new brand. With increasing competition, consumers will finally reap rich benefits,” comments a marketing guru in Mumbai.

As for Orange’s future plans, comments Ms Nishi Suri, executive director, Ogilvy & Mather India: “Orange will focus on giving its customers the best value for money. It will continue to focus on the customers. We talk to our customers instead of talking about rival brands.”

Meanwhile, Orange is planning to paint the city orange with its outdoor media campaigns, inform industry sources.