India has a new biggest telco thanks to $23BN merger
India has a new largest mobile network operator and it’s all thanks to a $23 billion merger of two former rivals. The Vodafone Group announced on Monday that it was merging its Indian operations with competitor Idea Cellular to create a new giant in India’s telco space, boasting over 400 million customers.
India is the world’s second largest mobile phones services market after China, and it’s not just network operators trying to make their mark in the country. In order to make iPhones more affordable in the country, Apple is set to manufacture devices locally in Bengaluru, to try and increase its market share in the highly competitive market.
The last year has been tough for Indian telcos since the launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm’s 4G network, built for more than $20 billion by India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. Jio offered many customers months of free services for signing up, forcing rivals to slash prices.
The strategy behind the Vodafone-Idea Cellular merger is for the two companies to fill in the blanks in each other’s networks so that villages, towns and cities across India can access the best in 4G, said Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao in a statement.