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June 7, 2002 | 1220 IST
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Tatas want common brand for telecom companies

Hemangi Balse

The Tata group is working on a common brand for all its telecom companies, including VSNL.

The group has constituted a committee of senior executives to work out a common brand "which will also mesh with the larger Tata group brand."

The committee is to submit its report in six months, senior Tata group officials told Business Standard.

"There are too many Tata brands in the telecom space floating around," the executives said, "leading to a loss in focus and a dispersion in the mind of the consumer."

Prominent group telecom companies include Tata Teleservices, the basic telephony operator in Andhra Pradesh, Tata Telecom and VSNL. Besides, the Tata group has a stake in Idea Cellular, and the group considers Tata Internet, the Internet service provider, as a telecom company.

The issue was intricate because the common telecom brand had to relate positively with the larger Tata brand, officials said.

"Besides battling with questions as to the integration of VSNL, a strong brand itself, into the Tata fold, the group has to figure out the details of the back-office integration that will be required if consumers are to be serviced across a common brand," the officials explained.

It was the group's business strategy to offer seamless end-to-end connectivity to the end consumer--in the sense that he doesn't have to call up and speak to five different service providers for five different services--the official said.

"This means that we need to integrate all our billing and technical support systems, together with the customer-care systems," the official added.

The group is said to have set up the committee of senior executives around the time when it succeeded in its VSNL bid. "That acquisition only provided impetus for the plan," the official added.

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