Months after the original announcement indicating the merger, Aditya Birla Group has completed the Idea Cellular and Vodafone India merger, and the new entity will be called Vodafone Idea Limited. The merger makes Vodafone Idea the largest telecom operator in India with a market share of 32.2 percent, and an active subscriber base of 408 million users.
The board has appointed Mr Balesh Sharma as the CEO, with a new board of directors comprising of 12 directors (including 6 independent directors), the press release said. Together, the new entity holds the number-one position in nine circles across India. The company also mentioned that both the Vodafone and Idea brands will continue to co-exist.
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Commenting on the merger, Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Idea Limited, said, “Today, we have created India’s leading telecom operator. It is truly a historic moment. And this is much more than just about creating a large business. It is about our Vision of empowering and enabling a New India and meeting the aspirations of the youth of our country. The “Digital India”, as our Honourable Prime Minister describes it, is a monumental nation building opportunity. As Vodafone Idea, we are partnering in this initiative by building a formidable company of international repute, scale and standards.”
In the press release, Idea Cellular also mentioned that both companies now have a wide broadband network (3G + 4G) with more than 340,000 sites that cover 840 million Indians. The company also has the largest voice network with 200,000 unique GSM sites covering 92 percent population, or 1.2 billion Indians. The merger also gives a large spectrum portfolio of 1850MHz to offer good experience across 2G, 3G and 4G platforms. Lastly, the companies together have 15,000 stores to service customers, and a distribution network of 1.7 million retailers.