Mobiles Make For Strange Bedfellows

virgin-mobile-logo-01.JPGIt seems British billionaire Richard Branson, who owns Virgin Group, has teamed with India’s Tata Teleservices. As it now stands, Virgin and Tatas are preparing to launch a branded mobile phone service. They are expected to announce in the coming days their intention to introduce Virgin Mobile into a completely new market – India – by early March.

Although a formal partnership is yet to be officially announced, the marketing whirlwind surrounding both companies has trumpeted the worst kept secret in the mobile phone industry.

The marketing strategy in preparation, which is largely aimed at targeting young mobile customers, is angling to emphasize Virgin’s undeniable brand appeal with youth. The goal? To claim a share of the large market almost exclusively dominated by Vodafone Essar Ltd. and Bharti Airtel Ltd. This development follows the Tata’s decision to reposition its brand from a mass-market to a youth-oriented mobile brand.

The partnership has already provoked far-reaching changes in the way some do business. Currently, Virgin manages its phone services business as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO.) In short, Virgin does not have to own any radio spectrum or telecom infrastructure. Until now, however, India’s department of telecommunications has not allowed companies to operate as MVNOs within Indian borders.That’s all about to change, of course, as the new mobile service will even carry the logos of both Tata and Virgin Group.

Thanks in part to it’s partnership with Tata, Virgin will be introduced into the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market. At the start alone, Virgin will pick up an estimated eight million customers on their monthly service plan.