Birla sees ‘fittest three’ sur­viv­ing

Mint ST - - FRONT PAGE -

Aditya Birla Group chair­man Ku­mar Man­galam Birla, whose Idea Cel­lu­lar Ltd is set to merge with Voda­fone In­dia, sees only a hand­ful of busi­nesses sur­viv­ing a price war roil­ing In­dia’s tele­com mar­ket.

“The tele­com sec­tor is un­der­go­ing a very tur­bu­lent and dif­fi­cult phase,” Birla said in an in­ter­view. “Prob­a­bly the fittest three will sur­vive.” See Page 9

ap­provals and in­volves two of the Tata group com­pa­nies—tata Te­le­ser­vices Ltd and Tata Te­le­ser­vices (Ma­ha­rash­tra) Ltd (TTML).

Air­tel will ab­sorb Tata’s mo­bile phone op­er­a­tions across the coun­try in 19 cir­cles (17 un­der Tata Te­le­ser­vices and two un­der TTML). Th­ese cir­cles rep­re­sent the bulk of In­dia’s pop­u­la­tion and mo­bile cus­tomer base.

Tata Te­le­ser­vices had a sub­scriber base of 44 mil­lion and rev­enue mar­ket share (RMS) of 5% at the end­ofthejunequar­ter, ac­cord­ing to Gold­man Sachs. With the merger, Air­tel’s over­all sub­scriber base is now ex­pected to in­crease to as much as 351 mil­lion as against the com­bined Voda­fone-idea’s pro­jected 391 mil­lion con­sumer base.

Air­tel’s RMS will also rise to more than 40% from 35.6% in Septem­ber, a tad short of the com­bined 42% RMS of Voda­fone-idea. Tata’s av­er­age rev­enue per user stood at Rs159/month, lower than that of Air­tel and Voda­fone, but higher than Idea’s.

The ac­qui­si­tion will also bol­ster Air­tel’s po­si­tion vis-a-vis Re­liance

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