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Virgin Mobile launches in India in strategic pact with Tata Teleservices

03-March-2008
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Virgin Mobile launches in India in strategic pact with Tata Teleservices

Sir Richard Branson launched his Virgin Mobile services in India in his characteristic flamboyant manner on March 2 in Mumbai, suspended 20 floors above ground. Virgin Mobile has entered into a brand franchise agreement with Tata Teleservices for the India launch.

Virgin Mobile India is an association between Virgin Group and Tata Teleservices, which will facilitate Tata Teleservices with its experience and expertise in designing, marketing and servicing Virgin Mobile branded products for the youth segment.

The Virgin Mobile brand philosophy of ‘Think Hatke’ is encapsulated in Virgin Mobile India’s desire to redefine India's mobile services landscape.

Speaking at the launch, Branson, Chairman and Founder of the Virgin Group, said, “The launch of Virgin Mobile sees the Virgin Mobile brand arrive in India – a day I have looked forward to for many years. India is a country I hold dear to my heart; the vibrancy of its youth and culture truly makes it Virgin territory. At Virgin Mobile, we believe that the existing operators are all pursuing the same strategy: to get as many subscribers as quickly as possible. Virgin Mobile’s strategy is different. We want to deliver a more tailored, more relevant offering for a single, distinct segment. We are not pursuing scale for scale’s sake.”

He further said, “Our association with the Tata Teleservices unites the passion of our two business groups for putting customers first and finding innovative, fun ways of enriching their lives, and it represents Virgin Group’s strong focus on India. In true Virgin tradition, Virgin Mobile brings to all its customers 10 firsts to the Indian telecom market – we’re even going to pay our customers to talk. Now that really is ‘Think Hatke’!”

Virgin Mobile customers will get 10 paise credit for every in-coming minute they receive from any network.

Commenting on Tata Teleservices association with Virgin Group , Anil Sardana, Managing Director, Tata Teleservices, said, “We are very excited about our association with the Virgin Group. Their service innovation and strong brand resonance with the youth segment will allow Tata Teleservices to offer a truly world-class service experience to our youth subscribers. This association also supports our efforts to be the fastest growing mobile network in India.”

It may be recalled that some media reports had stated that the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had asked the Government to clarify whether Virgin Mobile had been issued the first mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) licence.

Under MVNO, an operator who doesn’t own a network infrastructure or spectrum, could still offer telecom services by buying airtime from an existing mobile service provider that owns the licence and infrastructure for telecom services.

Globally, Virgin Group has alliances with existing service providers under the MNVO agreement. However, in India, the existing policy doesn’t allow MVN operators or resale of airtime in the country.

Branson has asserted that the Virgin Mobile-Tata Teleservices alliance is a brand franchise agreement.

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