India’s Tata Teleservices plots a comeback with pure-play enterprise avatar

Tata Teleservices TTBS
TTBS logo courtesy TTBS

India’s erstwhile consumer telecom operator, Tata Teleservices, is revamping itself into a pure-play enterprise communications and service provider to focus on small and medium companies. The company, which had sold its consumer telecom business to Bharti Airtel, now combines its wireline broadband assets with enterprise tools and services.

The company has also rebranded into Tata Tele Business Services (TTBS) to tap the growing demand in the enterprise space.

Harjit Singh Chauhan, who had been serving the company as president for the enterprise business, is now spearheading the newly revamped company, the Economic Times reported. Tata Sons have also brought top executives from other group companies to drive the new revamped entity.

“Tata Sons has cleaned up the financial mess in the entity and will resume operations on a clean slate,”  a top company official was quoted as saying by the report.

The revamped company will also focus on the 5G enterprise space and offer its enterprise 5G solutions to other telecom operators.

The report said that TTBS would also support Tata Sons’ other group companies, including Tata Electronics, which is currently involved in developing the “SuperApp” digital platform by bringing all consumer offerings of the group on one single platform.

The company’s telecom downfall started in 2012 when India’s Supreme Court cancelled its licenses in three telecom circles and other telecom companies for irregularities in spectrum allocation. Subsequently, Tata Teleservices’ relationship went sour with NTT Docomo, which eventually exited the company following a long legal battle. However, Jio’s entry with cheap tariffs made the company’s consumer telecom business unviable.

After the Airtel deal, Tata Sons wrote off its investment of $3.86 billion in 2020 and decided to merge Tata Teleservices’ enterprise business with Tata Communication to combine synergies for the enterprise segment. However, Tata Sons decided not to go ahead with the merger.

Notably, Tata Sons already has Tata Communications as its main company offering enterprise telecom services. It has been catering to large companies in India and globally.

TTBS will now reportedly offer intelligent call routing and call monitoring to companies in banking, insurance, manufacturing, e-commerce, healthcare, fintech and SMEs. It has also launched its new cloud-hosted communication platform, Smartflo, to target small and medium enterprises to tap the work from home opportunity.

The revamped company, however, is expected to face intense competition from both Airtel and Reliance Jio. Jio specifically focuses on the Micro, Small and Medium Businesses (MSMBs) segment with its enterprise-grade fibre broadband service, which is now being offered with digital solutions and devices.

Airtel and Vodafone Idea are aggressively focusing on building their enterprise business by adding new capabilities and entering into new segments to drive their revenues in the country. They are also trying to capture the digitisation opportunity in the country as enterprises across categories quickly digitise their business to cope with the challenges introduced by the ongoing pandemic.

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