Home / Opinion / Quick Edit /  Yes, VI can

Telecom major Vodafone-Idea has transformed its brand identity. After running a teaser campaign on Twitter, on Monday it unveiled “VI", its new look and sound (to be articulated as “vee" or “we" without oval lips), two years after the UK-based Vodafone and India’s own Idea merged their operations. The idea, it would seem, is to signify a renewed stab at survival after what analysts saw as its recent near-death experience.

The operator’s post-merger performance has been poor, the result of a severe price war in the market after Reliance Jio’s 2016 entry, and it seemed all but over for it when a Supreme Court ruling handed it a bill of around 58,000 crore for its adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues. It has paid some of it to the government, but over 50,000 is still due—now to be paid in annual installments over a decade, thanks to a court reprieve. Vodafone seems reluctant to put in more money, but the company plans to raise about $5 billion through a mix of bonds convertible into equity, and actual equity itself by means of a qualified institutional placement. Uncertainty over its fate has seen it lose customers, of late, but if telecom tariffs head upwards, as expected, VI could be back in the reckoning.

Meanwhile, observers have placed a magnifying lens over Vodafone-Idea’s new Roman numeralesque logo, interpreting its lack of similarity with the British partner’s global identity as an ease-out path for it. Such speculation is premature, though it’s true that the proposed expansion of its equity pie would leave Vodafone with a diminished role. This wouldn’t bother its customers so long as their service needs are met.

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