TRAI Says Vodafone-Idea Merger Talk Is Premature

Telecom watchdog TRAI on Friday said it will look into the proposed Vodafone-Idea merger “as and when” regulatory issues crop up.

“That’s (merger of Idea and Vodafone India) a business decision. I would not like to comment. As and when there is the regulatory issue I will certainly give advice to the government,” TRAI Chairman R S Sharma said on the sidelines of Momentum Jharkhand in Ranchi on Friday.

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Vodafone-Idea

On January 30, Britain’s Vodafone Group confirmed it is in discussions to merge its Indian unit with Idea Cellular in an all-share deal to create the country’s largest telecom operator with 43 percent revenue market share.

The combined entity is expected to pose formidable competition to the current market leader Bharti Airtel and aggressive new entrant Reliance Jio.

The merger of Vodafone the country’s second-largest cellphone network operator – with the Aditya Birla Group firm – India’s third-largest cellular operator would create a company with over 395 million users and form one of the largest telecom companies in the world.

Lauding the IT policies of Jharkhand, Sharma said companies can come and invest here as right skill-sets are easily available.

He also added that Jharkhand is the first state where TRAI is testing open duct policy in which any service provider can come in and take their fibre without digging again.

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“Jharkhand is crucial for testing our new policies,” he said, adding that Ranchi has the potential to become the Bangaluru of the East India.