Idea Cellular to become Vodafone Idea; plans to raise Rs 150 billion

Idea Cellular proposes to call the new entity born of the much-talked-about merger of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India Vodafone Idea. 

According to a regulatory filing, Idea Cellular has called an extraordinary general meeting on June 26 to consider proposals on a number of issues, including changing the name of the combined entity, touted to be the largest telecom operator of the country. It hopes to raise Rs 150 billion through non-convertible debentures. “…consent of the members be and is hearby accorded for change of name of the company from Idea Cellular Limited to Vodafone Idea Limited," a filing on the BSE by Idea Cellular said.

The company further said the consent of all its members was secured to issue non-convertible debentures in one or more tranches, aggregating Rs 150 billion on private placement basis during a period of one year from the date of the passing of the resolution.

The new operator will have a revenue market share of around 37 per cent, and around 433 million subscribers.

The required approvals for the much-awaited merger have reached the last leg and the Department of Telecommunications is likely to give a go-ahead in the next few weeks. Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla is spearheading the merger process, and recently met Union Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha.  

Idea Cellular has recently converted its Cellular Mobile Telephone Service (CMTS) licence into a unified licence (UL) in six telecom circles, as part of the merger process. Now Idea Cellular has either a UL or UASL licence in all the 22 telecom circles of the country, which allows the company to offer all kinds of services. Under CMTS, landline services are not allowed.  

The companies had, earlier this year, announced restructuring the leadership team for the merged entity that would have Kumar Mangalam Birla as non-executive chairman. Vodafone's present chief operating officer (India) Balesh Sharma will be its chief executive officer.     
Idea, Airtel added 10 million subscribers in April: COAI 

Telecom operators Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular jointly added over 10 million mobile subscribers while Vodafone lost over 664,000 customers in April 2018, according to the data released by the Cellular Association of India (COAI) on Friday. "Idea Cellular had the maximum number of subscriber additions, adding 5.55 million to bring its total subscribers to 216.76 million," the COAI said in a statement.


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