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Tata Tele to focus on high end of GSM space
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The company plans to leverage its tie-up with NTT DoComo to offer many value-added services.

CDMA operator Tata Teleservices (TTSL) plans to enter the GSM space by the end of May with a strategy to target the mid and upper end of the market. The company does not want to play the pricing game by offering low tariffs to woo customers. The company plans to leverage its tie-up with NTT DoComo to offer many value-added services that do not exist in India at present.

Lloyd Mathias, chief marketing officer, TTSL, said, “In the GSM space, we will target the mid and higher segment. At present, there is no differentiation of services for niche consumers. We plan to provide certain services for certain consumers.”

“Our tie-up with Japanese operator DoCoMo will enable us to offer a wide variety of world-class products and services,” he added. However, he said the company would not completely ignore the mass market but focus on segmented offers in devices, value-added services, tariffs, etc.

“Though our plans are not concrete yet, for GSM, our focus will be more on revenue share than the number game,” said Mathias. The market is at present dominated by incumbent operators who offer competitive tariffs.

TTSL’s franchisee, Virgin, Mobile already has a special offer targeted at the urban youth. TTSL has spectrum in all circles except for Delhi, one of the highest revenue-generating in the country.

Given the lower traffic, Mathias said the congestion-free network would give the company an edge. “Call drops are a major factor affecting the consumer sentiment. So, for the new entrants, quality is more of a selling point than price,” he said.

On the fact that the company still did not have spectrum in Delhi Anil Sardana, managing director, TTSL, said, “We will approach the government and tell it that while spectrum has been given to some people in Delhi, they have not started their rollouts, whereas we already have customers. We expect that the government will consider to give us spectrum before the new operators.”

He added the company would launch its GSM services in southern India first and subsequently move to the east.

In October 2007, the government had allowed CDMA companies such as Reliance Communications Ltd and TTSL to offer mobile services using GSM technology, in addition to their existing CDMA services. RCcom launched its GSM services earlier this year.

TTSL has earmarked $2 billion for capital expenditure till 2010. Of this, a major portion would be spent on GSM services. Sardana said, “We plan a capex of $ 2 billion dollar for FY 10 for our GSM services, which will be launched in a few weeks from now.”

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