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Going Global Case Study

Case Title:

Vodafone (C): Sarin ‘Follows’ Pug

Publication Year : 2008

Authors: Sai Prasanna, Rajendar Singh Rathore

Industry: Telecommunications


Case Code: GGL0042

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

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To quickly recoup from the growth crisis and capitalise on the fastest growing mobile market in India, Sarin found his desi routes through HTIL’s bid. Third in the Vodafone case series, this case study presents Sarin’s signature deal in clinching Hutchison Essar’s majority stake. Not every day that one gets to control a big player in a highly regulated and competitive environment. Thereby, Vodafone’s acquisition of controlling stake in Hutchison Essar was very crucial for its growth in emerging markets. The case study highlights Sarin’s strategic efforts in establishing its presence in India like rebranding initiatives to increase its brand awareness through massive promotional campaigns, infrastructure sharing with other network operators and others that are exclusively focused on reaching the low-end customer segments. However, Sarin decides to quit the company leaving his successor, Vittorio Colao, with a pile of unfinished businesses. Given the scenario, can Vodafone succeed in the Indian market amid stiff competition from large family-run companies like Bharti, Reliance and Tata groups? Can its growth in Indian market compensate for its stalled growth in Europe? What are the challenges Colao would face in the future?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To justify Vodafone’s decision to acquire controlling stake in Hutchison Essar
  • To evaluate Vodafone's strategies to win the Indian customers
  • To examine Vodafone's rebranding strategies in India
  • To emphasise Vodafone's successful performance in Indian markets
  • To analyse the growing competition and other challenges to Vodafone in India
  • To examine Sarin's exit from the company and potential challenges for his successor
  • To suggest how Vodafone can gain sustainable competitive edge in developing countries like India.


  • Vodafone's Successful Bid
  • Vodafone in the Indian Markets
  • Vodafone's Remarkable Performance in India and the Challenges Ahead

Keywords : Mobile; Hutchison Essar; Rebranding; Managing in Troubled Times Case Studies; Vodafone; Acquisition; Infrastructure; Bundling; 3G; GSM; CDMA; Spectrum; Tariff; Wars; MVNOs; Vittorio Colao; DoT; COAI; and TRAI

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