Davos: During his speech at a WEF Governors meeting this morning, Mr. Vittorio Colao, Vodafone Group Plc‘s CEO, complimented India and Prime Minister Modi’s government for a marked improvement in the ease of doing business in the country during the last four years.
After the meeting, Mr Colao elaborated and said “Digital India and Make in India are transformational initiatives. The focus of Prime Minister Modi’s government and India’s new progressive policy framework are ensuring their successful execution. India’s enhanced economic liberalisation will bring more international investment into its growing economy, which will in turn generate exciting opportunities and boost job creation.”
Within the telecom sector specifically, Mr Colao said “India has significantly increased the amount of spectrum which is now available to operators. The proposed increase in spectrum caps will further hasten the roll out of networks to the benefit of customers, government and industry.”
“Simplicity and transparency are key to the reforms introduced and this has been recognised by the significant improvement in India’s position in the Ease of Doing Business global rankings. The swift progress we have made in just under a year towards the completion of our merger with Idea Cellular is testimony to this fresh approach. India has a clear set of well-defined M&A rules and we are seeing their fair and speedy implementation”, said Mr Colao.
Vodafone is the co-creator of the telecom ecosystem and a catalyst of the telecom revolution in India. Since starting operations in India in 2007 it has invested over INR 134,700 crore in India and contributed over INR 143,000cr to the Indian exchequer as at 31 March 2017. Vodafone’s India business, in addition to being the highest contributor to Vodafone Group’s service revenue growth, has the largest customer base (over 210 million customers) and the largest data traffic market (by volume).
Vodafone also operates high-end technology centre and IT and customer experience centres in Pune and Ahmedabad and is setting up a state-of-the-art Tier-4 data centre to service the evolving communications needs of businesses and enterprises. The IT and customer experience centres service Vodafone companies globally, exemplifying the “Make in India” opportunity and highlighting its success to the world.
On 20th March, 2017 Vodafone Group Plc and Idea Cellular announced an agreement to combine their operations in India (excluding Vodafone’s 42% stake in Indus Towers) to create India’s largest telecom operator with complementary footprint and amongst highest overall spectrum holding of 1,850 MHz across multiple bands. The merger transaction is subject to approval from the relevant regulatory authorities. Approvals are already received from (a) ‘Competition Commission of India’ (CCI), (b) SEBI & Stock Exchanges and (c) National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT). The merger is on track and is expected to complete in first half of calendar year 2018.