Vodafone Idea rebrands itself as Vi; price hike expected
Vodafone Idea on Monday announced that it is rebranding itself as Vi two years after the merger of Vodafone and Idea Cellular. The announcement comes three days after Vodafone Idea had revealed plans to raise up to Rs. 25,000 crore to clear its dues to the government. Reportedly, the rebranding could be coupled with price hikes for Vi prepaid and postpaid plans.
'Culmination of world's largest telecom integration'
Vodafone Idea said that Vi—read as "we"—is more than an abbreviation for Vodafone and Idea and reflects the nature of Indian society. The debt-laden carrier said, "The integration of two brands is a culmination of the largest telecom integration in the world." Vodafone Idea CEO Ravinder Takkar said, since the merger, the company has focused on integrating the two networks, their people, and processes.
Vi will bring important meaning to customers' lives: CEO
Takkar said, "Today I'm delighted to present Vi, a brand that will bring important meaning to the lives of our customers. Indians are optimistic and want to get ahead in life." He added, "They would love a credible partner to help them on this journey. Vi's positioning is built around this promise and will focus on meeting the customer needs to help them thrive."
Vodafone Idea's subscriber base dwindling since merger
Notably, Vodafone Plc's Indian arm had merged with Idea Cellular in August 2018 but the two carriers had maintained separate brand identities until now. Since the merger, Vodafone Idea's subscriber base has declined from 408 million users to 280 million users at the end of June this year. The move to rebrand Vodafone Idea comes amid intense competition in India's ailing telecom sector.
Top court recently ordered carrier to clear AGR dues
Vodafone Idea has been struggling to pay its adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government. Last week, the Supreme Court allowed the carrier 10 years to pay up dues related to AGR. The carrier has been ordered to pay roughly Rs. 50,000 crore in dues to the government, out of which, Rs. 7,854 crore has already been paid.
Vodafone Idea board approved plans to raise Rs. 25,000 crore
On Friday, the board of Vodafone Idea approved plans to raise up to Rs. 25,000 crore in fresh capital via a mix of instruments. The carrier said that it would raise up to Rs. 15,000 crore through debentures and an equal amount by issuing shares and warrants, however, together the amount will not exceed Rs. 25,000 crore.
Hiked new tariff plans expected soon for Vi subscribers
According to News 18, with the rebranding, Vi subscribers could face tariff hikes as the carrier is looking to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) figures. Currently, the carrier's ARPU is around Rs. 114 against Reliance Jio's Rs. 140 and Airtel's Rs. 157. Vi has not announced any new prepaid or postpaid plans currently, however, new tariff options can be expected soon.