Vodafone Idea
Vodafone Idea hopes for a change of fortunes in India as it switches to a new name - a more catchy 'Vi'. Image Credit: Agency

Mumbai: Debt-ridden Vodafone Idea said on Monday it is rebranding itself, as the company, which has been losing customers, looks to change its image three years after announcing the merger of two of India's biggest telecom service providers.

Vodafone Idea, a joint venture between Britain's Vodafone Group and India's Idea Cellular, said it will go by the brand name "Vi".

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The loss-making telecom carrier on Friday approved fund-raising of up to 250 billion rupees at a time it owes roughly 500 billion rupees ($6.81 billion) in dues to the Indian government. The dues, according to a Supreme Court order, will have to be paid over a 10-year period.

"Vi's focus will be to deliver a superior network experience, better customer service and leading products and services," Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read said.

On a media call before the announcement, Vodafone Idea CEO Ravinder Takkar said the company would make its next payment of government dues on March 2022, and was contemplating raising tariffs. Telecom carriers in the country have already raised some subscription tariffs as they look for ways to pay down government levies.

Vodafone Idea lost 4.7 million customers in May alone, while market leader Reliance Jio added 3.7 million. The Indian unit of Vodafone had gross debt of 1.19 trillion Indian rupees as of June end.

A newspaper report last week said Verizon Communications and Amazon.com Inc may invest more than $4 billion for a stake in Vodafone Idea, but the telecom company said on Thursday its board had no investment proposal to consider from them.