Vodafone Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said Thursday the newly-merged entity is working on upgrading and consolidating its combined infrastructure to pack-in better services for the masses.
Vodafone Idea Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla said Thursday the newly-merged entity is working on upgrading and consolidating its combined infrastructure to pack-in better services for the masses. “Our immediate focus of the merger is to consolidate these networks into one strong global scale network not only to handle current traffic but also to prepare for the future,” he said at the India Mobile Congress 2018. He added that “refarming of harmonised spectrum” will enable it to enhance wireless data capability by 3-5 times.
“Before we move in to 5G area, a lot needs to be done in leveraging current technology and investment, to the fullest,” he said. Earlier this year, the government approved the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, a move that created Vodafone Idea Ltd, the country’s largest mobile phone operator worth more than USD 23 billion with a 35 percent market share.
Kumar Mangalam Birla is the non-executive Chairman and Balesh Sharma is the new CEO of the merged entity, which remains listed. “India has begun its odyssey to become a digital economy… We are committed to making Digital India a reality,” Birla said. The merger of Idea and Vodafone has been envisioned with a view to creating a strong entity, he added.
The mega deal was announced by Vodafone India and Idea Cellular in March 2017 to take on competition from richest Indian Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, whose entry shook up the telecom market with free voice calls and dirt cheap data offerings. In the combined entity, Vodafone owns 45.1 stake, Aditya Birla Group 26 percent and shareholders of Idea Cellular 28.9 percent.
The Aditya Birla Group has the right to acquire up to a 9.5 percent additional stake from Vodafone under an agreed mechanism with a view to equalising the shareholding over a period of time. The blockbuster deal had given Vodafone India an implied enterprise value of around Rs 82,800 crore and Idea an enterprise value of Rs 72,200 crore.