The Story of the Cellular Phone Brand Orange

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR002
Case Length : 8 Pages
Period : 1995 - 2001
Organization : Hutchison Telecom, BPL
Pub Date : 2001
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India
Industry : Telecommunications

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Mobile Mania

By the end of 2000, mergers, acquisitions and alliances had become the order of the day in the cellular phone market. Commented Atul Chopra, Managing Director, New Delhi based investment bank, Asia Pacific Capital, who was involved in some of the telecom deals, "You can either acquire or get acquired. There is no third option." In March 2000, Business World wrote, "Once the dust settles down in less than 18 months, the number of players in the business will come down from 22 to five or six". The probable long-term players could be Bharti Enterprises, BPL, Hutchison Whampoa, Reliance and the Tata-Birla-AT&T combine...

Welcome Orange

In early 2000, a bright orange bloom over cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata was giving sleepless nights to Sunil Mittal (Mittal) and Rajeev Chandrashekhar (Chandrasekhar). In February 2000, Hutchison Max Telecom introduced Orange in India. The brand "Max Touch" was replaced by Orange. This was for the first time that a globally recognised cellular service brand was available in India. Said Ghosh, "What that means to our subscribers is that they will now benefit from the technology advantages that Orange has. Orange is refreshing, honest, straightforward, innovative and friendly. In continuum, we will incorporate these brand values in our services at an accelerated pace"...

Orange is Squeezed

In May 2000, when France Telecom acquired Orange, two top officials from Orange met senior Hutchison India officials in Israel at a convention. They made an offer to pick up a significant stake in Hutchison's India operations, which was by then planning to launch the Orange brand in New Delhi after having made a big splash in the lucrative Mumbai circle. The offer was made a second time shortly thereafter, but Hutchison India officials turned it down, saying that they were in no mood to sell, and that they would eventually effect a merger of all the circles by taking their Indian partners along...

But Not Hutchison

Hutchison's honeymoon with the Orange brand in India could soon be over but it would still remain a dominant player in the cellular phone market. In December 2000, the company announced that it was planning to consolidate its cellular telephone assets in India and list them within a year or eighteen months. In early 2001, oblivious of the threat looming large over its Orange brand, Hutchison was gearing up for a new competitor, MTNL in the aggressive Mumbai market. Said Das, "The company plans to launch a slew of marketing initiatives to promote the Orange brand in the near future." To support the print campaign, the company planned to launch an ad campaign and ground promotions...


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