Vodafone Idea Limited on Monday announced that it will go by the brand name “Vi”, three years after Britain’s Vodafone and India’s Idea Cellular merged in India. The rebranding was done as the telecom operator has been losing customers and was ordered by the Supreme Court to pay over Rs 50,000 crore in dues to the government in 10 years’ time.
The debt-ridden joint venture had last month reported its eight quarterly loss.
In a filing with stock exchanges, Vodafone Idea announced the plan to rebrand. “Vodafone Idea came together as a merged entity two years ago,” said Ravinder Takkar, managing director and chief executive officer, Vodafone Idea. “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,” Takkar added. “Vi’s positioning is built around this promise and will focus on meeting the customer needs to help them thrive.”
The name Vi is much more than an abbreviation of Vodafone and Idea, the press release said. “It is shorter, simpler and while referencing the origins of the two brands, Vi [read as ‘we’], also reflects the collective nature of Indian society,” it added.
At a press conference, Vodafone Group Chief Executive Officer Nick Read said the rebranding is an important next step to launch their new unified business, Bloomberg Quint reported.
Meanwhile, Kumar Mangalam Birla, chairperson of Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Idea, said the new brand is committed to accelerate India’s progression towards a digital economy. “The world had never ever seen a merger and integration of this size and scale in the telecom sector,” Birla added.
The company’s shares, which rose 10% in the morning trade, ended 2.90% higher at Rs 12.40 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Last week, the loss-making carrier had approved up to Rs 25,000-crore fundraising to pay its dues to the Department of Telecommunications.