Report: TTSL mulls withdrawal of Virgin Mobile brand - Mobile World Live

Report: TTSL mulls withdrawal of Virgin Mobile brand

22 JUL 2011

Indian operator Tata Teleservices (TTSL) is reportedly set to phase out its branding arrangement with Virgin Mobile as part of a plan to consolidate its mobile operations around a single brand. TTSL bought out Virgin Mobile’s 50 percent stake in their joint-venture in April but was expected to continue to use the brand under licence. However, the Times of India reports today that the agreement is now the subject of a review, which could see the iconic UK brand disappear from the Indian market altogether. The Virgin Mobile operation was considered a success in its early days – particularly with the youth market – but is thought to have lost some of its lustre in recent years.

The demise of the partnership appears linked to TTSL’s separate tie-up with Japan’s Docomo three years ago, which acquired a 26 percent stake in TTSL and led to the launch of a separate GSM brand known as Tata Docomo. TTSL also has a third brand known as Tata Indicom in the CDMA space. The report notes that TTSL is now “rejigging its brand architecture” and consolidating its resources behind the Docomo brand. “Both Virgin Mobile and Docomo target the same set of consumers. It is natural for Tata Teleservices to focus on Docomo in which it has long-term interest,” said Mritunjay Kapur, India MD of Protiviti Consulting. TTSL is India’s fourth-largest operator on 97.5 million connections in Q2, according to Wireless Intelligence.

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