Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao has praised the Indian TRA for its progressive approach towards spectrum caps in the country - and has predicted rapid network expansion when the government applies the new spectrum measures which are still to be finalized.
The Vodafone Group CEO made the claims at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He highlighted how the proposed new increases in spectrum caps would significantly benefit operators, consumers and the industry as a whole.
Statistics released by GSMA Intelligence has shown that there has been a boom in the number of 4G subscribers in India which was a direct result of swift network deployment over a two-year period. The number of 4G subscribers increased from 8 million in September 2016 to 177 million by the end of 2017.
However, in November last year, the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) tabled a proposal in which it would change its regulatory environment allowing operators to hold a maximum of 50% spectrum in any given band in each of Indian’s service areas.
The TRAI said the objective behind this proposal was an attempt to ease consolidation in the telecoms sector. A change in the cap will significantly benefit the combined entity of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular which are close to securing a merger deal. Vodafone India and Idea Cellular are currently awaiting regulatory clearance in order to veto the deal.
The Vodafone Group CEO has been wholesome in his praise of the TRAI and pointed out their efficient and effective approach in relation to the approval processes for M&A in India.
The merger is in the final stages of approval having been already vetoed by the Competition Commission of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India. It is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018, with April widely tipped as the date the combined entity will begin trading.
In early January, Idea Cellular revealed it was set to embark on a funding drive in order to increase the cash position of the merged company ahead of final approval.