MTS may sound as a relatively new name to the Indian consumer but considering the fact that it is the eighth largest telecom brand globally, one can be certain that this Russian giant is in no mood to be one of the me-too operators in the country. As the company tries to bag more consumers via its aggressive schemes and promotional packs, it is equally concerned about maintaining a healthy bottom-line as it is running hard to attain break-even by 2013. 4Ps B&M caught up with Leonid aka Lenny Musatov, Chief Marketing Officer, Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL) to discuss the journey so far and the future strategies of this operator for the Indian market.

Aggression is the right word to discuss the marketing strategy of MTS. Is it driven by the end of the slowdown blues?
I would not call it aggression but yes, we have reached a certain stage as we got optimal coverage for our efforts. It was actually intentional from our end to first concentrate on regional advertising, which involved more of outdoor, in-store and regional press. And now if we go on television, it’s very much part of our initial plans. This approach is very different from the strategy of Tata DOCOMO and other new operators that went on TV from day one. For me, this is a sign of burning money. We are much more disciplined in our approach to shape up our investment.

Initially, consumers in India had a certain apprehension in their mind to switch to CDMA technology. As a pure CDMA operator, do you still see this mind block prevailing or has the Indian consumer gone past that?
India is a unique market. What we initially saw was that CDMA was always looked at as poor man’s mobile in the voice segment. However, in the data card segment, the preferred dongles were from Reliance and Tata, which were also CDMA driven. Clearly, there is a balance coming in the market and differences are getting eliminated.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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