Vodafone – Idea merger gives another boost to Modi’s ‘Digital India’

By Simon Jones

Vodafone to combine its subsidiary Vodafone India, with Idea to create India’s largest telecoms operator

The combined company would become the leading communications provider in India with almost 400 million customers, 35% customer market share and 41% revenue market share.

The size of both companies means that this is a merger that looks set to have a significant impact, boosting digitisation, and delivering potential benefits to 1.3 billion Indians. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 49 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets, while Idea Cellular – part of one of India’s largest business groups, the Aditya Birla Group – is the third largest wireless operator in India.

The combination of the two companies’ networks and spectrum holdings, provides an opportunity to accelerate the expansion of 4G and 5G wireless broadband services across India, which should also help to support the expansion of digital content and IoT services, fitting perfectly with Mr Modi’s nationwide digitisation campaign.

The CEO’s of both companies were keen to highlight their contribution to ‘Digital India,’ with Idea’s Aditya Birla Group Chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla calling the deal a “landmark combination” that will “transition the Indian population towards a digital lifestyle, and make the Government’s Digital India vision a reality.”

Meanwhile, Vodafone Group Plc Chief Executive, Vittorio Colao echoed his sentiment by adding the companies’ commitment to creating a “new champion of Digital India, founded with a long-term commitment and vision to bring world-class 4G networks to villages, towns and cities across India.”

India has the potential to become a global hotspot for technology, with the 375 million internet users recorded in 2015 growing at an astonishing rate, and yesterday’s merger is fresh evidence that the big players in the market are ready to jostle for a place at the forefront of Modi’s drive towards a ‘Digital India.’

To find out more about Modi’s campaigns, read our ‘Modi Government Progress Report.’

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