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As cellcos fight tariff battle, print media is the gainer

06-September-2004
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As cellcos fight tariff battle, print media is the gainer

The ongoing price war among the cellular players has come as a bounty for the print media. According to the major cellular players, in an intensely competitive scenario, ads declaring the ever-changing mobile telephone tariffs have to be released almost every fortnight. Print ads score over electronic media advertising because of their higher recall and reference value. Below-the-line activities also come in handy in getting that little edge over rivals.

The price war took a new turn with Reliance Infocomm announcing on Thursday that it was slashing STD charges across its GSM, landline and CDMA across the country to just Re 1 per minute for select tariff plans. A company official said with the price war taking a new turn each day, a new print campaign informing the consumer about the latest tariffs has to be released immediately. Citing examples, she pointed out that very recently a print campaign on the low tariffs of the company was released in all major dailies. Now, a print campaign focusing on the latest Re 1 tariff will hit the media. Besides print, reliance Infocomm will use below-the-line activities too. All the major high traffic points will carry hoardings on the latest tariff plan.

Hutchison Essar also recently announced a steep cut in tariffs. The per- minute tariff for post-paid mobile to landline calls was reduced to Rs 2.25 for a monthly commitment of Rs 175. “This vital information needs to be filtered soon to our subscribers,” said a company official, “and the best mode is print media which our competitors also use. We will soon release a print campaign on the new tariff. A 40-second TVC does not have the same reference and reall value.”

Deepak Jolly, Director, Corporate Communications, Bharti Televentures Limited, says Airtel at present is “giving the best deal to its subscribers.” He said that Airtel recently announced a steep cut in its post-paid tariffs wherein only Rs 2 per minute is being charged for calls to both mobile and landline connections. Airtel has also announced major tariff cuts for pre-paid consumers. “In this scenario of intense competition, consumers need to informed regularly about the changes in tariffs and this can be best achieved through print media which stands as a good reference material,” Jolly said. Unlike tariff plan advertising, he said that brand and corporate campaigns are usually aired on TV. Radio is also used extensively when it comes to tariff based advertising, he said.

Idea Cellular is also doing its bit to remain ahead in the race. “At present all our subscribers enjoy the lowest tariffs. Recently we announced a huge cut and the subscribers are being informed about these through print advertising. These are both comparative and informative. Recently an ad campaign called ‘Eco Talk’ was released in all leading dailies,” says Rajat Mukerjee, VP, Corporate Communications, Idea Cellular. The print campaign will get converted into electronic after a few weeks and this will revolve around the low tariffs, he said.

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