As operators in India continue to struggle with near unworkable market conditions, operators are looking at a range of options to free up cash and reduce debt

India’s two biggest telecoms operators, Reliance Jio and Airtel, are set to raise $5.6 billion by selling off government backed bonds, as the two companies struggle to sharpen their competitive edges in India’s cut-throat telecoms market.    

Reports in the Indian press suggest that Airtel will sell off $2.5 billion (Rs16,500 crore) worth of bonds, while Reliance Jio will liquidate $3.1 billion (Rs20,000 crore) of bonds. 

Along with Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – who will shortly be merged into one entity – the companies are battling for market share in India’s hyper competitive, cut throat telecoms market. 

Indeed, such is the severity of market conditions in India that the country’s fifth largest mobile provider, Aircel, was forced to file for bankruptcy in February 2018. 

Both Reliance Jio and Airtel are expected to use the newly generated funds to weather the storm until market conditions improve. 

Despite the wafer-thin margins in India’s telecoms sector, operators are still having to invest huge amounts to prepare their networks for the roll out of 5G services in the coming years and it is expected that both Reliance Jio and Airtel will invest heavily in their networks.