Indian cellco Vodafone Idea Ltd (VIL) has today unveiled a new unified brand name, ‘Vi’, having completed what it claims as the world’s largest network integration ‘in record time’ and more than doubling its 4G coverage to reach a billion people in the two years since the merger of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India, the Economic Times reported. CEO Ravinder Takkar announced: ‘The brand integration not only marks the completion of the largest telecom merger in the world, but also sets us on our future journey to offer world class digital experiences to one billion Indians on our strong 4G network … VIL is now leaner and agile, and the deployment of many principles of 5G architecture has helped us transform into a future-fit, digital network for the changing customer needs.’
Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla declared: ‘With our new brand Vi, we stand committed to partner the government to accelerate India’s progression towards a digital economy, enabling millions of citizens to connect to the digital revolution and build a better tomorrow.’ Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read added: ‘This is an important next step to launch our new unified business under a new unified brand, Vi. As the integration of the two businesses is now complete, it’s time for a fresh start. That’s why we believe that now is the perfect time to launch Vi, one company which combines the strengths of Vodafone India and Idea.’
Vodafone Idea, the once-largest mobile operator in India, has seen its user base plunge to under 280 million at end-June 2020 from 408 million at the time of its merger. Over the last two years, the company maintained its two separate brands with Vodafone being more popular in urban areas and Idea having a greater rural presence, although post-paid packages had already been integrated under the Vodafone brand. On Friday the operator revealed plans to raise funds of up to INR250 billion (USD3.4 billion) via a mix of debt and equity instruments, to pay statutory dues and invest further in its networks.