Vodafone in talks to buy India’s Tata Teleservices

06 January 2014 | Sophie Donoghue


Vodafone is reportedly in discussions with the Tata Group to buy a majority stake in its mobile unit, Tata Teleservices.

A deal with Vodafone could create India’s largest mobile phone network, overtaking market leader Bharti Airtel.

The move complements Vodafone’s interest in expanding its Indian unit, which is the country’s second largest player. The deal could also improve its 3G footprint in the region.

Tata Teleservices has struggled with heavy debts and falling market share in recent years.

Sources said that Tata is hoping that a deal with Vodafone could give the mobile unit the boost it needs due to Vodafone’s financial strength and strong market position.

DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile phone company, holds just over a fourth Tata Teleservices and is a minority partner.
The Japanese company has the first right of refusal to Tata’s 59.45% stake in Tata Teleservices, however many industry experts are predicting that it will exit from partnership by April this year.

An agreement would be forestalled if US company AT&T’s bid for Vodafone is successful.