Why Vodafone Failed in India- A Case Study

Disclaimer– It’s an inspirational case study to understand the business module and further development looking at set back of others. There is no motive to criticize the company anymore, rather a way forward to solution of problems.

It was December 2015 Jio soft launch happened and publicly available from September 2016. The entry of Jio into telecom sector of India is a landmark in the industry. It played such a powerful game which changed the whole industry. Today if many Indians are using smartphones it’s because of Jio. Due to introduction of 4G spectrum by Jio many other companies tries to adopt it. Because of free data for many months by Jio, everyone tried to buy smartphone and a revolution came to smartphone industries also. Many big operators tried to adopt the same ecosystem, Airtel, Vodafone are the one.

I remembered that day when there was a poster of Vodafone in my uncle’s house in West Bengal. My father said something good is coming through Vodafone. Vodafone’s plan was that time great. Where every operator was taking charges according to minute in voice call, Vodafone offered first time in second. Main issue in minute deduction was when only one second passed away from one minute it was taking of 2 minutes charges. Vodafone grew a lot that time. In many house there is Vodafone. In our house all sim cards were of Vodafone. That time sim card means Vodafone. Because it was charging according to second. In 1 minute 1 second it was charging 61 paisa, but other operators were charging 2 rupees (without any special plan). Data was not that much important then.

After entry of Jio, data revolution came. Jio provided nearly 2 years of free internet with unlimited calls. People bought Jio sim all at a sudden. Who would not try to get free benefits? People bought smartphones, data became important. After free services, Jio provided 149 recharge plan for one month with unlimited 1.5 gb data and unlimited calls. Airtel was very quick to adopt the changes. Because Airtel has wide range of services and old emotions of people. Airtel changed itself widely to 4G spectrum with data oriented approach and unlimited calls plan like Jio.

Meanwhile Vodafone due to not much coverage of network like Airtel faced problems a lot. Most critical problem for Vodafone was charges fined by TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) of 1050 Crore rupees. So it is very hard to adopt such ecosystem with this huge due. Though it was tough for Airtel also, but due to partnership and wide range of users it can surpass the problem. Later Vodafone slowly adopted in many areas, but many places remained of 4G revolution. Still in our area there is 3G. For so much penalty cost Vodafone has to collaborate with Idea, and together they become VI. Still both can’t develop and eliminate problems. They raised their plans, and it created more problems and therefore many customers left Vodafone. Vodafone network now very slow in many areas, people are porting to other operators and future of Vodafone India is looking very dark ahead.

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