Virgin Group has agreed a joint venture with the Essar Group, Vodafone’s partner in India, to launch a ‘one stop’ mobile phone chain. Essar will provide consultancy, technical services and brand licensing for the stores. Virgin will bring expertise in marketing, customer care, branding, store operations and staff training.
The new phone chain will be aimed at taking a share of the country’s fast-growing wireless market. Virgin Group and Essar will roll out up to 2,500 shops under the The Mobile Store banner across India over the next three years. Each outlet will offer hand sets, accessories and repairs.
Essar has already launched 70 stores under its Essar Telecom Retail venture. The Indian company has interests in steel, energy and shipping as well as telecommunications.
Vodafone recently secured an agreement to take control of Hutchison Essar, India’s fourth-biggest mobile operator. Essar, the existing minority shareholder, agreed to stay on as Vodafone’s joint venture partner.