Almost a month after the Supreme Court cracked the whip on telecom majors of India, cancelling 122 telecom licenses that were issued by the Ministry of Telecommunications, several telecom operators have intensified advertising campaigns to convince consumers and not lose ground. While the Supreme Court order has come as a bonus to the incumbent operators, as it opens up several new frontiers for them to attract consumers who will be shifting to new service providers through mobile number portability (MNP) in the next three months, adversely affected operators have also activated all ad channels to convince consumers. The most utilised channels by the telecom companies are outdoor and digital platforms.
The latest affected operator to join the bandwagon is Uninor Telecom, which has intensified its advertising across all media platforms. The Supreme Court had recently cancelled21 licenses of the company pan India. As per industry estimates, Uninor’s annual ad spends are to the tune of Rs 100-125 crore.
The telecom major, in a detailed reply to exchange4media, elaborated, “The advertising campaign is the latest of many such channels we have utilised since the Court verdict earlier in the month. While our current television campaign continues to focus on our single product proposition – your talk time lasts longer with Uninor, so no need for frequent recharges – our print campaign focuses on the scale of operations Uninor has already achieved in India.”
Uninor continues to hold its strong stand that its operations will continue in India. “We are using multiple communication channels to ensure that there is no confusion on the fact that Uninor will continue with its services and also Telenor Group’s long term intent,” the company statement further said. Uninor has also initiated widespread outdoor advertising in Tier II and III cities. This comes in the wake of the immediate campaign by the telecom company on Facebook and other social media platforms that asserted that the Court had not ordered stoppage of any services and that there would be no interruption of services of Uninor, which reaches 36 million Indians. “Telenor Group has invested over Rs 14,000 crore in equity and guarantees in Uninor. It’s a long-term commitment. We are the competition and competition will prevail,” the ad stated.
In a statement to IMPACT earlier, Arif Ali, Head of Marketing at Loop Mobile, had clarified, “We have already increased our budget from what was decided earlier to communicate impactful and aggressive offerings that will once again redefine the mobile experience for our subscribers. Our focus is to reassure our subscribers that our services will remain unaffected, through a complete stakeholder communication strategy. Right from connecting with our corporate, individual and pre-paid subscribers to our channel partners, vendors and business associates and most importantly our employees, our approach is to communicate, using all media, that our services shall continue unhindered.”
Uninor has been issuing faith-building ads, and going more aggressive with PR. Parent company Telenor has proposed restricting older players like Vodafone and Airtel from future 2G auctions. Uninor’s case has also been taken up at a diplomatic level by Norway.
‘We Love Uninor’ campaign
The ‘We Love Uninor’ campaign, which has gone pan India, actually started online and was initiated by the company’s employees to motivate the entire management – both in India and at Telenor Group headquarters at Oslo. The management of the company is parallely leveraging multiple communication channels to not just make clear its position on the recent developments, but also to reach out to stakeholders and assure them of continued services. Started with a small number of fans and likes, the Facebook page today has positive response. Over the weeks since the launch of the Facebook page, Uninor saw a number of business partners, including distributors and retailers, coming on board to show their support.
“The ‘We Love Uninor’ campaign is already up and running in print, television and digital platforms to ensure that we are here to stay and would continue to provide value for money services to our 4 crore subscribers,” the company statement added.
For the record, several large telecom players were at a disadvantage after the Supreme Court verdict cancelled 122 2G licences granted ‘illegally’ by the Ministry of Telecommunications. Under suspicion has been a large chunk of the ad pie that comes from the telecom sector. An estimated Rs 800 crore goes into advertising mainly in print, television and outdoor media by the telecom majors of India.