Just a week back, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) gave its nod to the long-awaited merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular. The combined entity – Vodafone Idea limited – displaced Bharti Airtel as India’s largest telecom operator, a position that the Sunil Bharti-led company had held for almost 15 years. Losing the top spot is never easy for any company, but Bharti Airtel has a very good chance of regaining it back.
According to a report by Economic Times, Bharti Airtel could get back to being the largest telecom operator in India in terms of Revenue Market Share (RMS), within the next 2-3 quarters. This is because during the same time, Vodafone Idea Limited is expected to lose ground due to the integration process as the new entity conforms to Mergers & Acquisitions rules. Business analysts say that Airtel also stands to gain from its acquisition of Tata Teleservices’ consumer mobility business.
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Quoting Rohan Dhamija, partner and head, India & Middle East for Analysys Mason, the report says that there’s ‘empirical evidence’ that when two telcos merge in a stable market, the combined entity loses about 200 basis points in terms of Revenue Market Share during activities like network integration.
“Airtel could easily claw back RMS leadership from Vodafone Idea once it concludes Tata Teleservices’ mobility business integration,” Nitin Soni of global ratings agency Fitch was quoted as saying.
On its own end, Airtel is approval NCLT’s approval for its acquisition of Tata Teleservices’ mobility business, post which it’ll be seeking clearance for the same from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).