oppn parties Idea-Vodafone Merger: Welcome Consolidation

News Snippets

  • The government will make new IT rules to make it mandatory for platforms to provide traceability of content
  • PM Modi says India striving to move to evidence-based policy making by 2022
  • Patna High Court says that courts are clogged with cases against prohibition in the state
  • NCP-Congress say unanimity reached on government formation in Maharashtra, talks with Sena today
  • Surrogacy Bill referred to 23-member select committee by the Rajya Sabha
  • Government has asked the IITs to follow the quota system in hiring faculty
  • Gujarat police say self-styled godman Nithyanand has fled the country
  • Muslim parties are split over seeking review of the Ayodhya verdict
  • Indian skipper Virat Kohli says the pink ball could pose a lot of challenges due to its weight, hardness and colour
  • India to play its first pink-ball Test match against Bangladesh from Friday at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata
  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
Perfect start for India in the first pink-ball Test. Bangladesh skittled out for 106 runs while India make 174 for 3 in reply. Ishant Sharma took a fiver
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Idea-Vodafone Merger: Welcome Consolidation

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The merger of Idea and Vodafone is a step in the right direction, despite the merged entity being a telecom behemoth controlling 41% of the market. For, a fragmented market with many small players has meant poor services. Indians have for long suffered call drops and atrocious data connectivity, even in metros. In fact, market leaders like Airtel and Vodafone are the biggest culprits in this regard. Hence, with this merger, the telecom sector will now see four major players – Idea-Vodafone, Airtel, Jio and BSNL. The other smaller players are also talking merger, with Anil Ambani owned Reliance Com working to get Aircel and MTS under its wing. A few big players are both a boon and a bane, depending on how the road pans out in terms of competitiveness, market share, regulatory policies and growth.

There is always a risk that the consumer will suffer if a few big players play with the rates as part of a silent and unofficial cartel. Further, if one of the players strongly dominates in a particular circle, it can skew the rates to make monopoly profits. Thankfully, telecom regulator TRAI has been a very effective watchdog in this regard. Consumers will largely benefit from the consolidation as competition between the few large players will keep the rates down.

The telecom sector is heavily dependent on investments as it is driven by technology. The technological space is changing fast, with upgrades for most things available every few months. Even as India has embraced 4G, there are already whispers about 5G. Consolidation will mean that companies will offer better technology and hence better services jointly. It remains to be seen how consolidation will work if one of the players, namely Jio, continues to disrupt the market with offerings that the others will be hard pressed to match, mainly because it will be a huge drain on their finances.