Uninor, the joint venture between Telenor Group and Unitech Ltd, recently completed its first year of operations in India, and according to company officials, with around 15 million net additions in its customer base every month, the brand has constructed a strong platform for its steady growth.
In an email conversation with exchange4media, the company discussed the brand’s initial experience in the country and the plans ahead. Sharing the journey so far, a company spokesperson said, “When we entered India, we knew that it is an intensely competitive market, but we also knew that there is equally intense growth. With some 15 million net additions in a month, India was an opportunity unlike any other in the world. The largest player in India held only one-fourth of the market share, which also showed that there was place for a new operator to get in and grow. None of this has changed over this year. The growth remains, as does the opportunity.”
“We have completed one year in India with 16 million subscribers. It is heartening to see that we are capturing our fair share of this growth. Month after month, Uninor has emerged as the single largest operator in terms of new subscribers in the circles it is commercially present in. On an average, in these circles every 5th or 6th new customer is buying a Uninor SIM. This is extremely encouraging for a brand that no one had heard of 12 months ago. It means we are headed in the right direction,” he said.
Dynamic pricing Vs low-cost
The brand has always been positioned as a low-cost service provider when it comes to its advertising, but the official thought otherwise. “For us, our Dynamic Pricing plan is and will be the hero. This is a concept that allows customers to get up to 60 per cent discount, based on the location and time of their calls. I wouldn’t say this means low-cost. Low-cost means a blanket cut on tariffs. Dynamic Pricing means we are passing on our savings from locations and times of lower traffic to our customers. It means the power of tariff is in their hands and they can choose to benefit from the savings we pass on. It means that if they want, they can make a much more active choice with Uninor than they can otherwise.”
The advertising, too, has been crisp as well as straightforward. “Our brand talks to young people. It offers them a good quality experience and a product that maximises the return for their rupee. As we say in our communication, with Uninor, your talk time lasts longer, because you have a choice to make it,” he further said.
Leveraging the OOH platform
The company recently moved its OOH duties from Navia Asia to Mudra Max. Giving the reason for the shift of agency, the official said, “Our brand identity remains the same as it was during the launch phase, but Uninor has now transitioned into an operational phase, hence there was a need to explore new ideas. We must say that each participating agency came in with some good ideas and a strategy to take OOH communications forward. Of the agencies that presented to us, we were the most impressed with Mudra Max’s ideas. They seemed to best understand the need of a challenger brand in a competitive landscape and the critical role a creative and unconventional OOH programme can play. We also felt that Mudra understood the current marketing environment in our category space better.”
The newly-appointed agency has already begun work as the brand wants to stay true to its ethos, focus on communicating the attractiveness of their products and offerings in a simple and easy way.
Apart from OOH, the brand is also looking to leverage other tools of communication effectively. The spokesperson explained, “A mass market national brand catering to such a diverse customer audience cannot rely on just a few tools. Our approach has been to focus on more consumer engagements over advertising and thus, harness the full variety of media and platforms available to reach our customers efficiently and with impact. So, this will include OOH, on-ground activities, retail engagements, print, TV, radio and online. But even more than these, we will focus on a lot of ways to speak to our customers directly. So, you will see a big focus on BTL in the coming year.”
Riding the digital wave
And is the brand prepared to ride the digital wave too? The official remarked, “For a young brand talking to young customers, digital is not merely an option. This will definitely be among the core platforms we will use. Having said that, and as we said earlier, we do not intend relying on any one platform. In our world, platforms are best used when they are synergistic – each supporting the other to create the incremental effect. So, digital, too, won’t be standalone.”
For 2011, the company will keep its Dynamic Pricing as the key focus area as it awaits the go ahead for Delhi circle. Uninor stated, “We have a rock solid product. When every month more people buy you than anyone else, you know you have a brand, a product and a service that is working. And you don’t change a winning team. Our marketing effort will continue to focus on Dynamic Pricing. We will continue to make it even simpler for customers to understand. Strategically, our focus going into 2011 will remain on the three pillars that have worked for us – continuing to build a solid mass market distribution, strengthening the quality of our basic services, and being more efficient on costs every day.”
“Uninor has already completed its obligatory rollout in each of the 21 circles where we have spectrum to do so. We are still awaiting spectrum in Delhi, which we eagerly await, to start our services here. In all remaining circles, we will continue to strengthen our operations through 2011,” the official added.
Red Digital is Uninor’s digital agency on board, but currently the scope of work and the relationship is being reviewed by the telecom provider as it intends to get more aggressive in this area.
Uninor is owned by Norway-based Telenor Group, the world’s 6th largest mobile services provider, and India’s second largest diversified real estate major Unitech Ltd. The Telenor Group has invested Rs 6,135.63 crore through new shares to hold 67.25 per cent majority stake in the company. The company holds a pan-India UAS license to offer mobile telephony services in each of India’s 22 circles.