Vodafone and Telia opt out of Indian cellcos

9 Jun 2003

Vodafone Group and Sweden’s Telia have both announced the sale of their mobile interests in one of the fastest growing markets in the world. UK-based Vodafone claims that the sale of its 20.76% share in the largest cellco in Southern India was made because the assets did not offer the company a strong enough foothold in the industry. Bharti Tele-Ventures, India’s largest overall provider of mobile services, has bought Telia’s 26% stake in a local subsidiary, paying an estimated USD59 million, and now has full ownership status in all its companies bar one. Though India’s mobile customer base is expected to surge from the current 13.5 million to 120 million by 2008, it is a fragmented market divided into 22 regions or circles, each of which has up to four operators supplying services.