December 25, 2005

A Speculation: MobileCom’s shy “Orange” rebranding!

I am a loyal MobileCom customer, though I do find myself skeptical of how they ran their business ever since they entered the market 5 years ago with a favorable duopoly that could have been better utilized to rapidly capture market share and block the polarization of the market to avoid creating a mammoth out of the first operator Fastlink!

Beside that, it seems they have finally understood the dynamics of the market despite their years of shameful financial performance and ridicule market penetration, a bit latent perhaps; but in no contrast to Fastlink's practice, who only realized the true potential of the market when it felt the nearing of competition, which proved to be impotent at the time!

It is no secret, MobileCom is JT’s baby, and JT is France telecom adopted baby, the latter have many operations around the world, and most of it’s mobile networks are branded as “Orange”, a brand that originated in the UK.

For the past two years, I was aware that MobileCom was enjoying a degree of technical backing from France Telecom through its Mobile arm “Orange”, especially with the entrance of XPress as a new player in the local market with incomparable set of technological credentials, as they tried to patch up a service similar to the latter’s push-to-talk offering...

But only recently did it become apparent that Orange is now influencing MobileCom in terms of marketing and branding!

MobileCom website had a recent facelift, and not surprisingly, it used the exact template used by most Orange websites around the world (there are 15+ of them). And despite the different tone of the color orange that is used in the coloring scheme, everything else is almost identical…

Enter their running ad campaigns, they have standardized the use of black background and a certain font and layout that are also consistent with Orange branding throughout their operations around the world. My speculation would be that MobileCom are in the middle of a shy rebranding, perhaps in the coming months they’ll boost the tone of the orange color to match Orange’s distinct level, and later use the same packaging style, price-plans structures dictated by Orange until the switchover becomes a matter of a mere overnight logo swap -almost.

The benefits will be that MobileCom will enjoy the powerful synergy stemming from the utilization of an international brand (perhaps mobile content blah blah), and enhance their market penetration and segmentation capabilities.

On the down side, it’ll definitely loose its local feel as a Jordanian operator, as well as the perpetuating benefit for being the first to dedicate a portion of its resources to offer tailored packages to the service men and women of the Armed forces. A major backlash can also be expected if it was associated with Orange's Israeli operation, as the brand "Orange" in general is widely recognized as an Israeli brand here in Jordan, this is not the case for sure, yet such misconception would require heavy campaigning in order ot be addressed, without anticipating it to be cleansed any time soon.

Yet another twist in the Jordanian mobile communication sector that will only enforce its utter uniqueness!

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