China Mobile may tie-up with Voda Idea, Airtel: Report

If tie-up talks lead to equity investments in Voda-Idea and Airtel, it could give them the firepower to fight Jio in a competitive telecom market, say the report

 A rickshaw puller speaks on his mobile phone in front of advertisement billboards belonging to telecom companies in Kolkata, India, February 3, 2014. (Reuters Photo)

China Mobile, China’s largest mobile operator is keen on entering the Indian market and is in talks with Indian telecom operators to develop a cloud network in India, according to a report by Mint.

An anonymous source told the publication that top executives from China Mobile, met senior executives at Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea in December to explore their entry into the Indian market as a holding company of either or both companies.

If China Mobile were to enter a holding company, they would possess enough voting stock to control policies of Indian telecom operators but does not actively participate in the day to day activities of the operators that it holds, according to the report.

China Mobile proposed a similar holding structure to structure Singtel has with Airtel, a source told the website. Currently, Bharti Telecom is the single-largest shareholder in Bharti Airtel with 41% stake and Singtel with 35% stake, reported the publication.

The website adds that, if the talks end in an equity investment, it would give Vodafone-Idea and Bharti Airtel sufficient financial muscle to fight Jio in the competitive telecom market with bleeding-edge technology and would also help with the roll-out of 5G technology in the country.

China Mobile is the largest wireless carrier in mainland China with 930 million mobile subscribers and 170 million wired subscribers, reports the website. 


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