Bharti Airtel to buy Telenor's India unit to counter Jio

The latest entrant in the telecom industry, Reliance Jio with its free voice and deeply discounted data plans has pushed rivals to slash costs, sharply eroding their profits

Bharti Airtel to buy Telenor

In a bid to counter rival Jio's disruptive pricing, Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecoms network operator, is buying Norwegian Telenor's India unit.

On Thursday, Airtel said that it will buy Telenor (India) Communications Pvt Ltd, as part of which it will acquire the Norwegian company's operations in six Indian states. It did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

The latest entrant in the telecom industry, Reliance Jio with its free voice and deeply discounted data plans has pushed rivals to slash costs, sharply eroding their profits.




Due to such impact, Bharti Airtel reported its lowest profit in four years in the October-December quarter while No. 3 player Idea Cellular posted its first-ever quarterly loss for the same period.



Earlier, Britain's Vodafone Group said was also said to be in talks to merge its Indian subsidiary with Idea Cellular to create India's largest mobile operator with about $12 billion in sales. Furthermore, Reliance Communications had entered into an agreement to merge its wireless business with smaller rival Aircel.

"The decision to exit India has not been taken lightly. After thorough consideration, it is our view that the significant investments needed to secure Telenor India's future business on a standalone basis will not give an acceptable level of return," Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group, said in a statement.

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