New Delhi: Tata Teleservices Ltd, the Indian partner of Japan’s NTT DoCoMo Inc., said it will discontinue the Indicom brand and bring all its services under the Tata DoCoMo name, as it seeks to cut spending on advertisements and promotions.

“We can’t afford to spend on so many brands," said Deepak Gulati, executive president of mobility business at Tata Teleservices. “Having five different brands meant multiple spends and fragmented focus."

Phasing out brands, including Tata Indicom, Tata Photon and Walky, will help the nation’s sixth largest telecom service provider to focus its advertisement spending on its most successful Tata DoCoMo brand, improving brand recall and saving costs on separate advertisement campaigns.

“DoCoMo, as a brand, has enjoyed better success perceptually compared to the other brands in the stable, namely Indicom, which struggled from the beginning and was for some reason perceived to be a lower-price brand," said Santosh Desai, managing director of Future Brands. “In the ideal world, it would have been nicer for the company to pick one of their own brands, rather than that of a collaborator."

A file photo Bloomberg

“In the time since we launched Tata DoCoMo, we have been able to build it into one of the strongest brands in the country and it made sense to consolidate all the businesses into this brand," Gulati said.

In July, the company had restructured its operations to integrate the various teams working on CDMA and GSM services into one unit, that resulted in a few job losses.

The Tata Indicom brand will now become a part of Tata DoCoMo wherever Tata Teleservices operates its GSM services, the company said. In Delhi, where the company is still waiting to start GSM services, the company will retain the Indicom name. This will also apply to the three circles where Tata Teleservices does not have a GSM licence.

In the rest of the country, Indicom subscribers will be migrated to the DoCoMo brand.

The company also announced a new strategy to focus on data and the non-voice business. “Globally, a third of the revenues for telecom operators is coming from non-voice services. This shows that the world is moving away from voice and SMS into non-voice, which includes not only plain data, but also rich content like videos and applications," Gulati said.

Along with the Indicom subscribers, Tata will also migrate its Photon and 3G subscribers to the new brand. Other changes will include the integration of all retail outlets under the DoCoMo brand.

“Going forward, the organization’s energies will be channelled behind building a single brand. We believe dual technology is a strategic advantage in the telecom industry and we will continue to aggressively invest in CDMA, GSM and 3G networks," Gulati said.

This strategy is perhaps a more prudent one given the current environment, said Kiran Khalap, co-founder of Chlorophyll Brand and Communications Consultancy Pvt. Ltd.

“Even age-old brands such as Unilever, which had previously put a distance between the corporate and product brands, are now beginning to sign off their product campaigns with their corporate logo, especially, if the brands are under one category as is the case of Tata Teleservices," said Khalap. “Having said that, it would be prudent for the brand to retain the Tata endorsement for some time, as was proven in the evolution of other Tata brands such as Tanishq and Titan, which clearly showed their association to the mother group in store signages."