Business

Jio Impact: Ahead Vodafone-Idea merger, Bharti Airtel to buy Telenor India

Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom network operator, said it would buy Telenor (India) Communications Pvt Ltd, in a deal that will bolster Airtel's footprint with additional spectrum in the 1800 MHz band.

Airtel will buy Telenor's India operations in seven circles - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Assam, the company said.

Britain's Vodafone Group Plc has also confirmed that it is in discussions with the Aditya Birla Group about a possible merger of its India unit with Idea Cellular. It would create India's largest telecom company.

"Vodafone confirms that it is in discussions with the Aditya Birla Group about an all share merger of Vodafone India (excluding Vodafone's 42% stake in Indus Towers) and Idea. Any merger would be effected through the issue of new shares in Idea to Vodafone and would result in Vodafone deconsolidating Vodafone India. There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor as to the terms or timing of any transaction," Vodafone said.

The merged entity would emerge as the market leader in terms of wireless subscribers. Vodafone and Idea are in the second and third spot currently, while Bharti Airtel is number one.

Top five service providers have over 80 per cent of the market share of the total broadband subscribers. The merged entity would become the leader in the category, overtaking Bharti and Reliance Jio.

Reliance Communications is also already on the verge of finalising the agreement to merge Aircel Ltd into its own business. It will also soon be merged with Systema Shyam Teleservices, the owner of MTS services.

Source - Reuters

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