Vodafone tipped to take over Telenor India

07 July 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray


Indian newspaper reports that Vodafone is prepared to buy Telenor India’s spectrum for $1 billion

Vodafone is poised to buy up Telenor’s Indian operations, sources have told the Times of India’s Economic Times.

The newspaper’s sources say that Vodafone will pay about $1 billion for Telenor’s 1,800MHz spectrum and may pay more for the business as well.

Telenor runs 2G services only on the spectrum, but Vodafone would refarm it for 4G, as Indian operators prepare to enter a race for 4G dominance.

Telenor, which took control of the former Uninor joint venture in 2012, has spectrum in seven highly populated licence areas but runs services in only six. Vodafone has 4G spectrum in five areas.

Both are competing with Idea, which has spectrum in 10 districts, or circles, and Airtel, which covers the whole country. And all are expecting powerful competition from Reliance Industries, which is due to launch its Jio all-4G service later in the year.

Vodafone told the newspaper: “To grow our business, we continually evaluate opportunities, such as spectrum sharing, trading, M&A and spectrum purchase in auction.” But it did not comment directly on the report. Telenor refused to comment.

India is planning a further auction of 4G spectrum within two months, but Vodafone is understood to believe that would be too late to strengthen its position against other companies in one of the world’s most competitive markets.