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Vodafone, Idea in $23bln Indian merger

Monday, March 20, 2017 - 01:13

Britain's Vodafone Group and Idea Cellular have agreed to merge their Indian operations in a $23 billion deal, creating the country's biggest telecoms business after the entry of a new rival sparked a brutal price war. As Ivor Bennett reports, the combined entity would have almost 400 million customers.

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The writing's been on the wall for months, but now it's official. Britain's Vodafone and Idea Cellular agreeing to merge their India operations in a deal worth 23 billion dollars. They are already the country's second and third biggest operators Together they would occupy the top spot - almost 400 million customers and roughly 40 percent of the revenue - in what is a crucial market. After China, there are none bigger. SOUNDBITE (English) JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR, INDEPENDENT MARKET ANALYST, SAYING: "India remains a major opportunity not just for telecom companies but for major international companies more generally." But competition is fierce. New rival Reliance Jio Infocomm has been offering free services in a bid to attract more customers. They reached the 100 million mark in less than six months. That's sparked a price war and what analysts believe is a new wave of consolidation. Vodafone and Idea will have to shed some spectrum before a deal can go ahead. But Vodafone said it would not be much. The merger is expected to close in 2018.

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Vodafone, Idea in $23bln Indian merger

Monday, March 20, 2017 - 01:13