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D. Sathish Babu, FOUNDER, UniverCell Telecommunications
In the early days the Indian Mobile Retailing industry was highly fragmented with no organized retail players. Mobile handsets were expensive (an average price of USD 500 per handset), with the grey market players dominating the market. There were no branded showrooms to showcase an entire range of products.
Mr. D. Sathish Babu founded UniverCell in November, 1997, selling post paid mobile connections as a Skycell Teleshop (now AirTel Connect). Studying the buying behavior of his customers, Sathish understood that what consumers really wanted was to make intelligent and informed shopping decisions in an ambience that combined both comfort and a high degree of service.
In February 2000, using savings and some capital from family, Sathish opened Chennai's first large-format mobile retail store in an upscale location in Chennai, India. Since then, Sathish and UniverCell have been cresting the wave of the Indian mobile revolution from the retailing front, growing and evolving to become India's largest mobile retailer and one of India's best known brands.
A strong believer in mind share, Sathish Babu has consistently promoted the UniverCell brand through the various mass media available to him. Using a clever mix of targeted advertising campaigns and promotions aimed at localities as well as generations, UniverCell is well entrenched in the hearts and minds of the Indian consumer. One can see and feel its presence through its large format retail outlets as well as in print, television, cinema, special event promotions, billboards and FM radio.
Determined to take UniverCell and mobile phone retailing to the heights of excellence, Sathish constantly looks to incorporate innovative modern retailing concepts into his own organization. The series of core improvements initiated five years ago has now resulted in a world-class retailing organization that is powered as much by technology as by its people. The foundation for growth well in place, UniverCell has its sights on replicating its success Pan India. These same investments in technology and processes have earned UniverCell the ISO 9000-2001 certification (March 2004) for quality management systems.
Strong relationships with all the manufacturers, the e-portal @ www.univercell.in its pan Indian presence, UniverCell has been able to leverage efficiencies of scale, providing the highest levels of service and options to consumers. UniverCell presenting a single face to its customers assures the same level of support (warranties, service, etc) from every single outlet across the country.
The ability to attract, develop and retain a spirited, motivated and committed workforce is one of the key reasons for UniverCell's success. In keeping with the mobile generation, the average age of a UniverCell employee is 24, evenly distributed between girls and boys. From a team of five it has now grown to an organization with over 1500 employees
There are 200,000 people buying UniverCell handsets every month. This is the highest of any retailer in India. One out of every three handsets sold in the market is from UniverCell. Its current customer base stands at 10 million. This includes numerous celebrities and other high profile customers as well as many of the top corporate organizations in the country.