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Merger Of Telcos To Ease Competition, Shift Focus To Quality

The merger of two telecom giants – Vodafone and Idea Cellular — imply that the Indian mobile market will soon be paired down to four major national mobile operators. There are now hopes this will ease the fierce round of mergers and acquisitions in the market and ease the ferocious price war in the country, says a report by Opensignal.The merger of Vodafone and Idea Cellular is set to create India’s biggest operator with around 387 million subscribers across the country.

It plans to extend its 4G network to over 80 percent of Indian users, wireless service mapping company Opensignal said.The report has considered Vodafone and Idea as individual operators.

India’s remaining operators are now seeking other ways to differentiate their services rather than undercutting each other, the report added.

The focus is already shifting towards service quality, with both Airtel and Vodafone Idea talking up their 4G network improvement plans. On the other hand, Jio has gone one step ahead with a pledge to bring 5G to India before its rivals.

The rise of Jio has been the standout story in India’s mobile market in recent years. However, there are now signs in Opensignal’s metrics that its competitors are making waves of their own.“Jio continues to increase its 4G availability, with the highest national score we have ever recorded — an astounding achievement when you consider the challenges India’s operators face and the speed at which the market is maturing,” Opensignal said.

It said that Jio’s rivals haven’t been complacent.”With Airtel’s download speed increasing, we’ve seen some impressive growth across all of our metrics and we expect to see this growth continue as the Indian mobile market matures, the report said.In terms of 4G availability in India’s telecom sector, Jio continues to astound, growing its 4G availability to 97.5 percent — the highest national score we have ever recorded. But Airtel showed the greatest growth in this category, as its average score jumped by over 10 percentage points to cross 85 percent.

A recent report from Deloitte has estimated that the total investment required to cover India with 5G would be a staggering $70 billion — partly because the country lacks widespread fibre backhaul infrastructure necessary for high-capacity networks.“The huge investment needed to achieve a nationwide rollout and the high cost of 5G devices mean it will be several years before the majority of Indians reap the benefits of the next generation of mobile technology,” it added.―Business Standard

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