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Vodafone Idea officially starts operation as largest Indian telco

The merger has displaced Bharti Airtel from the top spot.

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MUMBAI: The mega Vodafone-Idea merger in the Indian telecom sector finally comes to closure creating India’s largest telecom operator with the most subscribers and revenue share. The new entity stands with a subscriber base of over 408 million and 32.2 per cent pan India revenue market share. However, both the brands will continue to operate independently. The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the merger yesterday.

The merger has displaced Bharti Airtel from the top spot which has held the spot for the last 15 years. As of July 2018, the company has a user base of 344 million. Now the Indian telecom sector stands with three large players – Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio. Mukesh Ambani-led  Reliance Jio is the third largest telecom operator in the country with 215 million subscribers.

“Today, we have created India’s leading telecom operator. It is truly a historic moment. And this is much more than just about creating a large business. It is about our vision of empowering and enabling a new India and meeting the aspirations of the youth of our country. The ‘Digital India’, as our Prime Minister describes it, is a monumental nation building opportunity. As Vodafone Idea, we are partnering in this initiative by building a formidable company of international repute, scale and standards,” Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Idea Ltd chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla commented.

Kumar Mangalam Birla has been named as the chairman of Vodafone Idea Ltd and Balesh Sharma as the CEO of the combined entity. The new board of directors include six independent directors.

The merger is expected to generate Rs 140 billion annual synergy, including opex synergies of Rs 84 billion, equivalent to a net present value of approximately Rs 700 billion. The Department of Telecom (DoT) had given a conditional nod for the merger of these companies on 9 July.

“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. My team and I look forward to your continuing support and invite you to enjoy the Vodafone Idea experience,” Sharma said.

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