A file photo of Nick Read, Vodafone Global CEO (Photo: Bloomberg)
A file photo of Nick Read, Vodafone Global CEO (Photo: Bloomberg)

Vodafone focused on successful integration with Idea Cellular: Global CEO Read

  • Vodafone Idea has completed the network integration process in 11 out of 22 circles and hopes to achieve the rest by June 2020
  • Vodafone India, Idea Cellular announced their merger in March 2017 in response to the entry of Reliance Jio in Sept 2016

New Delhi: The Vodafone group is focused on successful integration of the brand with Idea Cellular in India, the company’s global CEO Nick Read told reporters after meeting senior officials of department of telecommunications on Monday.

Read is in India with Vodafone Group Chairman Gerard Kleisterlee.

“We had a good meeting (with the government). We look forward to the results of that," Kleisterlee said after the meeting.

This meeting comes over a month after Vodafone Idea Ltd, which is in the midst of a complex integration process, said its chief executive Balesh Sharma has resigned citing “personal reasons" and will be replaced by Vodafone Group’s India representative, Ravinder Takkar.

Sharma’s exit had come less than a year after the merged entity started operations on 31 August 2018. The merged company has since lost market share and posted losses in every quarter of the past year, amid a bruising tariff war.

As of date, Vodafone Idea has completed the network integration process in 11 out of 22 circles and hopes to achieve the rest by June 2020.

Takkar faces the arduous task of ensuring that the integration process is completed smoothly and the company pares its losses.

Vodafone India and Idea Cellular announced their merger in March 2017 in response to the entry of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd in September 2016.

Despite the merger, Vodafone Idea has been facing a rough ride, with shrinking revenue and a gross debt of 1.2 trillion as on 30 June.

Since the completion of the merger, the company has lost subscribers every month. Its active subscriber base declined from 334.1 million in the March quarter to 320 million in the June quarter.

Because of the customer churn that was triggered by the introduction of minimum monthly recharge plans in November to weed out low-paying users, Vodafone Idea’s revenue fell 4.3% to 11,269.9 crore in the June quarter from 11,775 crore in the preceding three months. The telecom operator had posted a loss of 4,873.9 crore in the June quarter, despite the company witnessing higher data consumption on its network and signing up more 4G subscribers.

Before that, the company posted a loss of 4,881.9 crore in the March quarter, 5,004.6 crore in the three months ended December, and 4,973.8 crore in the September quarter.


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