Top10: 4 - Hutch: On The Consolidation Path

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

It was the year of consolidation for Hutchinson Essar. The

company acquired three circles of BPL Cellular and made Hutch a popular brand

across all circles. Hutch is now the fourth largest cellular service provider

and the third largest in the GSM area with over 15.36 mn subscribers.


The company grew from 13 circles to 16 circles, thereby

covering 88% of the national mobile subscriber base. It generated revenue of Rs

6,837 crore, a growth of 57% y-o-y. The end of its half-decade old relationship

with the UK's leading service provider 'Orange' was also a major highlight

of the year. Hutch was using Orange brand in Mumbai circle only but both

companies had trouble relating to branding initiatives. This led to Orange suing

Hutch in the Delhi High Court for trademark violation. The former accused Hutch

of intentionally encroaching upon its intellectual property rights and creating

images that were entirely based on Orange's brand guidelines. Hutch used these

guidelines to market its own brand. After Orange's exit, Hutch entered the

Mumbai circle on its own.


Area of operation: Mobile


Address: Hutch
House, Peninsula Corporate Park, Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai


Phone: +91-22-56661229

Fax: +91-22-56661241

These events followed the parent company, Hutchison

Telecommunication International (HTIL) selling its 19.3% stake to the Egyptian

service provider, Orascom, for $1.3 bn. This helped Orascom, which was a

dominant player in other SAARC countries, gain entry into India by securing 8%

stake in Hutch's India operations.


The consolidation of the company's operations across the

country resulted in Hutch coming out with its new identity, as it changed its

logo. As part of its new branding exercise, Hutch got a new color-pink. The

company stood out in the in the advertising world with its 'boy and dog'

campaign. While everyone used film stars as brand ambassadors, Hutch made pug

its icon.

Hutch launched an array of value-added services last year.

Voice portal, which provides infotainment services, was made available in all

the nine major languages. Hutch also launched a number of data-based services

such as Hutch Mail, multiplayer gaming, Hindi language support, video tones, and

Hutch alerts.


  • Acquired BPL's

    mobile operations

  • New identity with

    new logo

  • Exit of Orange from

    Mumbai circle


The telecom major has stayed focused on being a pure-play

cellular service provider. It consistently expanded its footprint, working down

from lucrative markets to a steady progression towards national coverage.

The branding exercise was very much visible in events too.

The company sponsored 'The Hutch Cup', for the one-day international cricket

series between India and Pakistan in February 2006. Similarly, the 'Hutch

Delhi Half Marathon' was a unique platform to create local connect with the

city.  In all, the events provided

great visibility and recall for the brand.


sharing is good for capex hungry industry'

What according to

you are some highlights of Hutchison Essar's performance in FY 2005-06?

With the acquisition of three circles of BPL Mobile Cellular,

Hutchison Essar grew from 13 circles to 16 circles, thereby covering 88%

of the national mobile subscriber base from 71% earlier. The organic

growth in 13 circles has been at 75%, as compared to the industry growth

in these circles at 70%. Hutch has positioned itself as a “premium in

mass” brand. We attract all segments of customers with a network of

superior quality and expanding coverage, drive revenue through affordable

tariffs which promote usage, deliver superior value through innovative and

customer-friendly  value-added

services and supporting the customer with strong service across touch

points. This has resulted in a rising share of customers choosing Hutch as

the brand of mobile telephony and consistently having the highest ARPU per

subscriber in the country.


Managing Director

Sandip Das

The telecom services

market in India has been extremely dynamic. As the market has evolved,

Hutchison Essar felt a need to refresh the brand to remain relevant in the

new environment. The new Hutch logo is the natural evolution of the Hutch

brand in India.

We stayed focused on

being a pure-play cellular service provider and constantly worked towards

building a differentiated business based on delivering a superior brand of

service. We consistently and carefully expanded our footprint working down

from lucrative markets to a steady progression towards national coverage.

Hutch launched two

major products-199 plan and 'Chota Recharge' for pre-paid. This has

redefined the value proposition of mobile telephony and has led to a rapid

market expansion.

We have launched

value-added services both in voice as well as in data segments. In voice

we launched caller tunes in which we were the first and only operator in

India who offered SMS based tune selection for a subscriber for his caller

tunes. In data based services, we launched unique 'Hutch Mail' service

that give secure access to corporate emails with attachments and corporate

address book across many phone models. We also introduced video tones,

multiplayer gaming and Hutch alerts.

Hutch has

experimented with the concept of 'outsourcing'. How has the company

benefited from it?

We have benefited from outsourcing initially in networking. We are

considering other areas as well to outsource.

What are your views

on infrastructure sharing? Are you also working on some business models

for it?

It is a good move for the industry and for optimization of resources

in an industry, which is very capex hungry.

Hutch is also

planning to opt for NLD license as well as ILD license. What's the

status on your long distance plan?

We have applied and are awaiting the license.

Service delivery is the key for operators today. The

company launched 'My Hutch', a web based self service that allows customers

to manage their account wherever they are. It facilitates all transactions

online at Hutch Shops located across the country. The company also has mobile

shops that are connected via GPRS.  These

apart, Hutch's self service kiosks that provide anytime service are also

popular among its customers.