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Uninor's dynamic pricing
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Quote:The 'Kumbh Mela' in Haridwar this year witnessed some unusual visitors. Employees of telecom services provider, Uninor, were manning booths that provided free mobile phone services for those who did not have cell phones but wanted to make emergency calls. Mobile vans from the company, branded 'Cell on wheels', also did rounds of the mela.

Besides generating goodwill for Uninor, these served as "perfect" branding exercises, believes Allan Bonke, executive vice-president of the company's Delhi hub. However, these exercises were not part of a concerted media campaign. It was simply the first phase of Uninor making its presence felt after it launched its services last December as the country's 12th operator. "We will compete hard for every new subscriber," Stein-Erik Vellan, the company's Managing Director, says.

It indeed is competing hard. In December 2009 when it started operations, Uninor had only 1.2 million subscribers in around eight circles. That number went up to 5.2 million in 21 circles as in April 2010. The company attributes the performance to its 'Blue Wave' strategy under which over 20,000 people went out to the launch circles to personally inform users about the company and its services.

The odds are, however, still stacked against the company. For one, it is still awaiting spectrum in an important circle - Delhi - and parts of states like Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir. Second, major telecom operators like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Vodafone are leagues ahead with over 100 million users and control as much as 50 per cent of the market. And all of them still retain the hunger for growth and are already talking in terms of the next target - 200 million subscribers. Also, competition is tough considering that each of the 21 circles where Uninor operates already has at least half a dozen operators.

Uninor, adds Meneghello, is a brand focusing on 22-25 year old customers. "However, our segmentation allows us to concurrently address the younger category (below 22) as well as the more established (above 25) categories."

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