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Vodafone, Idea in $23 billion deal to create new Indian telecom giant

Vodafone Idea
Communications   "This improves the industry structure"

Vodafone Group and Idea Cellular agreed to merge their Indian operations in a $23 billion deal.


They are creating the country's biggest telecoms business after the entry of a new rival sparked a brutal price war.

The combined entity would have almost 400 million customers, overtaking market leader Bharti Airtel to account for about 40 percent of revenue of the world's second-biggest mobile phone services market by users after China.

The deal shows how India's mobile industry is being transformed by the launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm's 4G mobile broadband network last year.

Vodafone, the world's second-largest cellphone operator, had previously sought to leave joint ventures it did not control but CEO Vittorio Colao said the group had to be realistic in such a challenging market.

"This improves the industry structure and it also equips us and Idea to be much more competitive in the future," he told reporters.

"I have no doubt that the Indian market will remain competitive but nothing can be free forever and we will be in a better position."
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