Bharti’s Telenor takeover to close by February, while Vodafone/Idea Cellular JV on schedule to happen next year

Consolidation in the Indian mobile market is progressing according to plan, executives from two of the country’s operators said this week.

Bharti Airtel will close its takeover of Telenor’s Indian business by February, the Economic Times quoted an unnamed Telenor executive as saying on Wednesday.

When the telcos announced plans to merge in February this year they said the deal would close within a year and are on track to meet that deadline, the executive explained.

Meanwhile, the tie-up between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular will be completed in calendar 2018, Vodafone’s CEO Sunil Sood told The Hindu.

The merger has various regulatory approvals to win, including needing the green light from the CCI, SEBI, the NCLT and Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Sood said.

He added that the company believes all those regulatory processes are on track.

Vodafone and Idea Cellular announced plans to create a US$23.2 billion joint venture of their Indian operations in March this year.

Once complete, the merged entity will be India’s largest mobile operator by subscribers.

According to the latest data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the operators together served 224 million customers at the end of July, a figure that would give them a 34% share of the market.