Idea Cellular Ltd and Vodafone Plc completed US$ 23.2 billion (Rs 1.6 lakh crore) merger of their India operations in August 2018. The merged entity, called Vodafone Idea Ltd, is now the largest telecom operator of India with a combined subscriber base of 408 million and a market share of 35%.
According to Anonlysis India telecom market statistics Q2 2018, Airtel had more than 344 million subscribers at the end of June 2018, and Reliance Jio had more than 215 million subscribers. So, the merged entity, Vodafone Idea Ltd, is now the largest telecom operator of India.
Both Vodafone and Idea will continue to operate as independent brands post the merger. Balesh Sharma has been appointed as the CEO of Vodafone Idea Ltd.
“As India’s leading telecom operator with two popular and loved brands, the company has the scale and resources to ensure sustainable customer choice and introduce new technologies. We are committed to offer both our retail and enterprise customers an excellent experience while fulfilling their evolving digital and connectivity needs via new products, services and solutions. We will offer them more network coverage, more value and more excitement,” Balesh Sharma, CEO, Vodafone Idea Limited said.
Eugene, Analyst at Anonlysis, said, “This merger can bring in a healthy competition in Indian telecom market as Indian telecom market will now actually be governed by three mobile operators, Vodafone Idea Ltd, Airtel, and Reliance Jio. Airtel will definitely try to regain its leadership position, Jio is going at full throttle to outperform any competition, while Vodafone Idea Ltd will surely try to leverage a large spectrum portfolio of 1850 MHz to easily get more subscribers on-board.”
“Subscribers will definitely have honeymoon period for 1-2 years till further market consolidation. But, call and data charges would likely to go higher by 2019-end. The Indian telecom scene may be totally different by 2020 with very high chances of having just three (private) telcos by then,” Eugene added.
According to Anonlysis India telecom market statistics Q2 2018, the number of mobile operators in India decreased from 14 in FY 2010 to 10 in FY 2018.