New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: Vodafone and Idea today announced the launch of new unified brand 'VI' which will go big on digital in its bid to compete with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. The integration into one brand is believed to be company's efforts to reduce cost of maintaining two brands. 

"VI is built to be strong, ever-dependable, agile, intuitive and a brand in tune with the needs of the customers in these ever-changing times. It is designed to help customers move ahead in life, for a better today and a brighter tomorrow, " Vodafone Idea said in a release.

Making the big announcement, Vodafone Idea on Monday said it has accomplished the world’s largest network integration in a record time. "The integration of two brands is a culmination of the largest telecom integration in the world," the company said in a statement.

“Vodafone Idea came together as a merged entity two years ago. We have, since then focussed on integrating two large networks, our people and processes. And today I am delighted to present Vi, a brand that will bring important meaning to lives of our customers. Indians are optimistic and want to get ahead in life. They would love a credible partner to help them on this journey. Vi’s positioning is built around this promise and will focus on meeting the customer needs to help them thrive,” said Ravinder Takkar, MD & CEO, Vodafone Idea Limited, launching the new brand.

The announcement comes two years after the completion of Vodafone India Ltd and Idea Cellular Ltd merger. Even after the merger, Vodafone and Idea continued with their independent brand and advertising campaigns.

The rebranding also comes at a time when Vodafone Idea has seen its user base falling from 408 milion at the time of merger to 280 milion at the end of June 2020. With Vodafone focusing on premium urban brand, Idea has been a mass rural-focused brand. Following the merger, the urban-rural appeal of the two brands took a hit. 

The company has also been struggling to keep its business running in India, e Court gave telecom companies 10 years to pay adjusted gross revenue dues (AGR) dues.Vodafone Idea owes slightly over Rs 50,000 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as AGR-related dues.

The rebranding decision also comes amid the company’s plans to raise funds. Vodafone Idea on Friday said it will raise up to Rs 25,000 crore. Its board approved fundraising after getting clarity from the Supreme Court on staggered payment of government dues.

Takkar, speaking at the virtual launch event, said that the Supreme Court giving 10 years to telcos to clear past dues is eventually a good outcome but stressed that mobile tariffs need to be raised to give sustainability and returns to companies. 

He said the company, in the past, had not shied from raising tariffs, which are under forbearance but insisted that the regulator and the government should take a call on fixing a minimum floor price.

The upcoming fundraising will offer a lifeline to cash-strapped VIL, which has suffered massive losses, has been losing subscribers and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), and faces outstanding Adjusted Gross revenue (AGR) dues of about Rs 50,000 crore.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta