Vodafone Essar : We added 500,000 3G customers in India

Samaresh Parida, director – Strategy, Vodafone Essar says
QoN and customer service are two main drivers for the MNP success, besides
Vodafone Essar’s Rs 20,000 crore expansion investments


Vodafone is now the number 2 operator in the country,
having beaten BSNL in terms of revenues during the first quarter of 2011. What are the
main factors that have contributed to this success?


The two most important factors have been continued
investments into expanding reach in the rural hinterland and bringing
cutting-edge services to our customers.


Over the past three years, we have invested over Rs
20,000 crore to expand operations and help us serve our customers better in
India. We have extended our network to cover more than 80 percent of the Indian
population, and have nearly 48 million rural wireless subscribers (as on Dec
2010) across the country. Vodafone India has also crossed a 130 million
customer’s mark, which is the largest subscriber base for Vodafone


In addition to networks, service has been another area of
investment. We have continually invested in the brand to keep it engaged with
our customers and improve service quality. In addition to voice services, we
are making it easy for our customers to try 3G services, using 2G service plan
rates. Such developments are important for driving greater adoption of 3G data
services in India. Such investments will continue.


Will there be any changes to the Vodafone India
infrastructure post the departure of Essar?


Essar’s exit will be completed only on 15 February 2012
when the final tranche of payment is made and regulatory clearances have been secured.
After this, we will own 74 percent of Vodafone Essar directly via its
subsidiaries, with Indian shareholders holding the remaining 26 percent. We
remain committed to the business and will continue investing in the business,
even after Essar’s exit from the business.


How many 3G subscribers does Vodafone have till date?
What is the most popular 3G service that Vodafone offers, based on your
subscriber demand?


We have so far approximately over 500,000 customers using
3G services. It is very early to comment on specific adoption figures. We will
share these at a later date, once usage has stabilized. 


Vodafone was leading the MNP race in India till last
month when it was overtaken by Idea Cellular. In a low-ARPU, highly competitive
market, what is the one thing that subscribers look for that ensures operator


We are extremely happy with the response we have received
through MNP.  We feel that our investments in our quality of network and
customer service are the two most important factors for this. Invariably,
service providers that have a strong brand proposition, superior network
quality, innovative products and better quality of services will draw customers
in an MNP environment.


By Beryl M

[email protected]