Reliance Communications on Wednesday confirmed the merger of its wireless business with Aircel, PTI reported. The establishment of the joint venture, worth Rs 35,000 crore, is the largest-ever consolidation deal in the telecom sector in India. The merger will create the country's third largest mobile operator, if calculated according to customer base, NDTV reported.
According to reports, Anil Ambani-owned R-Comm and Maxis Communications Berhad, which owns majority stake in Aircel, will both hold 50% stake in the venture and bring in equities worth Rs 7,800 crore. The entity will be listed at later and is expected to function under a new brand name. R-Comm’s debt will reduce by Rs 20,000 crore (around $3 billion) or over 40% of its total debt, while Aircel’s debt will be lower by Rs 4,000 crore ($600 million), after the deal is struck. The merger will have to be approved by the telecom department.
The merger will reportedly create a subscriber base of 190 million – Airtel has a base of 251 million, Vodafone 198 million and Idea Cellular 175 million. In the revenue market, however, Idea will surpass it with a 20.1% share, while the joint venture will have only 10% of the market share, according to CNBC-TV18. The new entity will also hold 19.3% of total spectrum, which would be the highest in the sector, PTI said.
The move was announced weeks after Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited launched Reliance Jio, promising data services at as low as Rs 50 per GB, free voice calls to all Jio customers and nationwide free roaming.