Vodafone Group Plc’s Indian arm is in exploratory talks around a possible merger with its smaller domestic rival Idea Cellular, according to a CNBC TV18 report, citing unnamed sources.
According to the report, the two companies are assessing the possibilities of such a merger and challenges and opportunities it would bring.
Vodafone is the second-largest mobile service provider in the country, followed by Idea.
Both the companies refused to comment on the report.According to a recent report by rating agency ICRA, the wireless subscriber base declined to 1,033.16 million from 1,034.25 million in April 2016, a first since September 2013. The agency further added that the active mobile subscriber base dipped by 1.56 million in May to 932.5 million.
Vodafone India added 0.32 million mobile subscribers in the month of July. The same number for Idea Cellular stood at 0.25 million. Airtel added the largest number of subsribers during the month, 1.07 million.
The telecom operator is said to be the top gainer of customers through mobile number portability facility. As per the data presented by telecom minister Manoj Sinha in Lok Sabha, 4.7 crore customers joined Vodafone while 48.65 lakh customers moved out of its network through MNP facility.
Vodafone was followed by Airtel (3.82 crore users) and Idea (1.8 crore users) in customer gain through MNP.
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