Aircel, driven its chief operating officer Kaizad Heerjee, is gearing up to mark 2014 as its year for providing better consumer experience, adoption of newer technologies and upgradation of mobile networks.
The telecom operator is gearing up to launch 4G in 2014 to compete with Bharti Airtel, which has presence in 4 cities, and Reliance Jio Infocomm, which will launch TD-LTE services in select telecom circles next year.
Aircel and 2014
Aircel spokesperson says the telecom operator is entering 2014 with realistic expectations. The upsurge in the data segment in 2013 has motivated Aircel, which is owned by Maxis of Malaysia with 74 percent stake, to continue delighting its customers with an array of innovative and affordable products and services.
Aircel’s focus is mobile customer and the company will continuously work towards upgrading its infrastructure and adopt newer technologies to offer high end experience to its users. With smartphone upsurge, operators are cognizant of high data usage, hence Aircel will be working with various mobile phone manufacturers to create products which enhance customer experience.
Kaizad Heerjee joined Aircel in August 2012, the most challenging year for India telecom which has seen the exit of several telecom players, 2G license cancellations, new spectrum auction, dwindling ARPU, etc.
The entry of Aircel COO was not only to revive the company but to understand and handle the Indian telecom challenges. Aircel COO Kaizad Heerjee and his team have contributed immensely to the growth in 2013.
Aircel COO is supported by a strong team including Aircel chief marketing officer Anupam Vasudev, chief human resource officer Sandeep Gandhi; technology solutions group head Robert James Sewell; chief technology officer Sameer Dave; operations and customer support head Vipul Saurabh; chief financial officer Anup Vikal; regulatory head Ashok Sharma and Aircel business solutions head LV Sastry.
Spokesperson says Aircel continued to climb the ladder of growth with a clear focus on two pronged strategy – to create Aircel as a strong data brand and achieve operational profitability.
Aircel a strong data brand
As a brand Aircel continued to strengthen its position as a data player in the country. Currently, the 3G business contributes to 40 percent to the total data revenues up from 29 percent in 2012. While the 2G data base grew by 23 percent in the last financial year (2013), 3G subscribers grew by 74 percent in the same period.
Aircel has been leading the data revolution in the country from the front and in 2013 it undertook many initiatives to drive growth in this segment. The hero product was Pocket Internet 24 with which the company targeted the category of first time internet users by effectively offering data at less than Re 1 per day. 3G Mornings was also introduced to help induce free trial of 3G on Aircel networks.
Aircel also became the first telecom operator in India to provide truly unified internet packs to offer complete flexibility to its customers to use 2G/3G services in the same pack. In addition, its strategic partnerships in 2013 were also aimed at driving growth in the data segment.
The tie-ups with Micromax and D-link are sound examples of affordable innovations by Aircel wherein it introduced reverse bundling offers for the customers. This indicates that India is now experiencing a data revolution, and operator-device tie-ups will play a significant role in strengthening the telecom ecosystem, which is critical to fuel this growth.
Besides data, in a step that revolutionized the voice market in the country, Aircel pioneered the concept of free roaming and launched One Nation One Rate (ONOR) which enabled it to take a lead in the voice space as well. The on-net calling packs also saw significant subscriber traction.
Aircel also moved away from centralized contact centers to local state level centers by providing support in local language through local agents to the customers who are coming in increasing numbers from semi-rural/rural markets. Aircel also supported the Green Initiative to save paper on post-paid bills. More than one-third of the subscribers successfully migrated to e-bill in a seamless manner.
Achieving operational profitability
On the business front, Aircel took into account the industry challenges and their impact on the business and as a result envisaged strategy to achieve operational profitability. Resource optimization and network monetization contributed significantly to achieve this target. It also adopted a city-cluster prioritization strategy focusing on its core competencies across the country.
Aircel emerged as the biggest revenue market share (RMS) gainer in the July-September quarter with addition of 34 basis points. In the months of July and August, Aircel also added the maximum number of GSM subscribers as per data by COAI.