NYT has a “poigant coverage” of Vodafone India. It gets some facts right. Vodafone is embroiled in a legal case stuck in Supreme court regarding tax evasion. I am not aware of the complexities but Vodafone is still awaiting the final decision.
The second fact is about heavy investments in advertising. If you can’t make up for anything else, scale up the bullshit and so goes the Vodafone’s motto.
Now comes how NYT is unable to refine the issues.
Vodafone has also been trying to get higher-paying customers on board, by offering monthly unlimited service for BlackBerry users, for example, for 899 rupees ($19.98). But all mobile companies compete fiercely for BlackBerry users, and at around a million people, they make up just a sliver of India’s population of 1.2 billion.
Vodafone has the WORST package in terms of data access. Period. If they feel that they can scale up the revenues by trying to milk the “blackberry” users, they are obviously mistaken and have their heads up their asses.
Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s chief executive, alternates between enthusiasm and frustration when discussing India. The country’s “communicative, talkative society is the ideal ground for a communications company,” he said in a telephone interview.
At the same time, he said, “in the Indian regulatory system sometimes there is a tendency to see the telecom sector as a lemon to be squeezed.”
Fuck you moron. No one asked you to come here to try and lick the regulator’s ass. If you feel frustrated, leave the damned country. I would have nothing do with your screwed up zoozoo (or whatever contraption you have invented).
Oh here comes the veiled threat: (emphasis mine)
Despite their travails, Vodafone executives say they are committed to India. But they hint that they may rethink things if they are still left with a multibillion-dollar tax bill after the Supreme Court decision this summer.
“We like India, it is an important part of Vodafone; but we need to be reassured that it is a business-friendly environment,” Mr. Colao said. “For the time being we continue to invest.”
Hmmm. Business environment is as good as the fact that a company complies with local laws. If Vodafone decides to evade the tax (as per the Indian tax authorities), then the tax people have a good enough reason. Why should vodafone try and evade the taxes and not play along with what’s fair?
I’d be happy to see it rid of the damned pug and the zoozoo.
If Vodafone is so keen to grow “organically or inorganically” (whatever the fuck that means), they need to listen to their customers first. Arguably, not hide behind a customer care unit, bring in transparency and open up the VAS. For example, there is a huge disconnect in the price for Internet access in pre-paid and post paid segment. How come? In any case, the GPRS sucks (as an end user, I’d never touch this with a barge pole), their VAS is pretty useless.
I’d try and focus something on Content issues later; how mobile customers get shortchanged and what is the possible way out. Seriously, their Indian team needs to gird up because giving service is not a cake walk.
If some dingbat from NYT is reading this, first ascertain your facts. There is lot of PR bullshit mentioned in your write ups; before you hold up the mirror for “responsible journalism”. So far, Vodafone has grown taking advantage of lax regulations (by crowing about continued business interests) but customers are being blatantly ripped off.
I would strongly suggest to avoid Vodafone because it’s post paid plans get pretty expensive in the long run if you use the data services because as they mentioned, they like to squeeze their customers like lemons.
- Vodafone top gainer in India number portability-trade (reuters.com)
- India court defers Vodafone tax case hearing (reuters.com)
- Vodafone and Essar hire banks to value joint-venture stake (telegraph.co.uk)
- Impressive Marketing, the ‘ZooZoo’ Style (globalthoughtz.com)
- Spat Delaying Vodafone’s India Tower Assets Sale (online.wsj.com)
- Vodafone says OK with Essar IPO of Indian JV stake (reuters.com)
- Will Vodafone discard the Zoozoo? (adpunch.org)
- India court defers hearing on Essar Telecoms merger to April 1 (reuters.com)
- Vodafone says still believes no tax to pay on India deal (reuters.com)