Bharti Gets a Makeover Before 3G Launch
The company is to be known as just "airtel", and has rebranded itself with a new signature tune (composed by a well known Indian musician, AR Rahman) and a new logo, which will also be used in the carrier's operations outside India. (See Bharti Airtel Strikes Partnerships .)
"The industry is becoming very youthful and we felt that the brand needs to speak their language. The new brand identity also gives us an opportunity to present a single powerful and unified face to our customers, stakeholders, and partners around the world," said Sunil Bharti Mittal, the operator's chairman and managing director, at a press conference in New Delhi.
Bharti Airtel, or airtel as we should now call it, is currently the world's fifth-largest operator, having just crossed the 200 million subscriber mark, with 150 million in India and the remainder in Africa, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
3G launch soon
Initially, airtel's 3G services will be available in four cities: New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai. The company has set up 200 "experiential zones" where consumers can try out the services.
Commenting on the anticipated pricing for 3G services, Sanjay Kapoor, CEO of airtel, said: "We believe that with 3G, margins will be coming back into the industry. The tariffs will be affordable and we will be more inclusive. The packaging will be more innovative. Taking into account the high spectrum fees... the pricing for 3G will not be as low as 2G." (See Bharti Plans Pan-India 3G Launch This Year .)
In an auction earlier this year, airtel won 3G spectrum in 13 circles (service areas). Amongst the other privately held mobile operators, Tata Teleservices Ltd. has already launched 3G services. Like airtel, Vodafone India , Aircel Ltd. , and Reliance Communications Ltd. are likely to launch 3G services by the end of 2010. (See Tata DoCoMo Preps 3G Launch, Aircel Earmarks $500M for 3G, India's Vodafone Essar Names 3G Suppliers, and India's 3G Players Ready for Swift Launch.)
airtel declined to comment on the continuing controversy surrounding the allocation of 2G spectrum by the recently ousted telecom minister, A Raja. "We have always complied with the rules and policies of the government and will continue to do so in future," says Mittal. (See India's Regulator Wants 2G Licenses Revoked and India's Telecom Minister Quits.)
— Gagandeep Kaur, India Editor, Light Reading