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Vodafone Idea: A Solid Handshake

The numbers may not do justice to Vodafone as they capture the performance as on 31 March 2018. The story of Vodafone took a historic turn later on 31 August 2018 when it merged with Idea Cellular to become country’s largest telecom operator. The merged entity – Vodafone Idea – is now working under the vision to create a ‘world class digital experience to connect and inspire every Indian to build a better tomorrow’. And this is what we have picked up to narrate a forward-looking story on Vodafone.

Today, Vodafone Idea is a pan-India integrated GSM operator offering 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services under two brands named Vodafone and Idea. The merged entity also provides services including Mobile payments, IoT, advanced enterprise offerings and entertainment, accessible via both digital channels as well as on-ground touch points and centers across the country. As of November 2018, Vodafone Idea has 32.2 percent market share in India with 422 million subscribers, making it the largest mobile telecommunications network in India and second largest mobile telecommunications network in the world. Vodafone Idea has a broadband network of 340,000 sites, distribution reach of 1.7 million retail outlets.

With a large spectrum portfolio and a number of broadband carriers to support the growing demand for data and voice, the company is committed to deliver delightful experiences to customers and contribute towards creating a truly ‘Digital India’ by enabling millions of citizens to connect and build a better tomorrow. It is developing top of the class infrastructure to introduce newer and smarter technologies, making both retail and enterprise customers future ready with innovative offerings conveniently accessible through an ecosystem of digital channels as well as extensive on-ground presence.

“The merger of two large organizations with complementary strengths has opened multiple opportunities to draw synergies across the board. We have set on a strong course with meticulous pre-merger planning and rigorous post-merger execution. In just 75-days of operations, several milestones have been achieved, ahead of expected timeline,” says Balesh Sharma, CEO, Vodafone Idea says.

“We are thus well on track to deliver the synergies envisaged at the time of the merger. Going forward, we remain focused on accelerating integration momentum for higher synergy realization; expanding coverage and capacity of our 4G network; providing the best of customer experience to our retail and enterprise customers; and in creating an agile and future-fit organization. Shareholders’ support along with assets monetization puts us into a strong position to achieve our strategic intent,” he further adds.

The merged entity continues using both the Idea and Vodafone brand. Currently, the Vodafone Group holds a 45.1 percent stake in the combined entity, the Aditya Birla Group holds 26 percent and the remaining shares will be held by the public. Kumar Mangalam Birla heads the merged company as the Chairman, with Sharma as the CEO.

With 1850 MHz of total spectrum holding, over 2 lakh unique GSM sites and ~235,000 km of fiber, the merged entity offers superior voice and broadband connectivity across the country, covering 92 percent of the population and reaching nearly 5 lakh towns and villages. This extensive infrastructure will allow customers to remain connected across the country and enjoy uninterrupted services even as it integrates and optimizes its network in a phased manner across circles. Sharma says that Vodafone Idea will continue to invest in developing world-class infrastructure and introduce newer and smarter technologies – IoT, high speed and secure leased lines, digital wallets, MIMO and cloud services.―BW Businessworld

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