Some of India’s most prominent telecommunication operators have been forced to launch investment initiatives in a bid to offset debts and losses as a result of the price war that has engulfed the industry in the country.
Reports have emerged claiming that Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm have both launched separate bids to raise a total of INR365 billion ($5.6 billion) through bond sales. It has been suggested by fiscal analysts that these moves are being initiated in an effort to prepare for further blows forthcoming as the country’s fierce price war shows no signs of abating.
Filings submitted to the Indian authorities has revealed that Bharti Airtel plans to raise up to INR165 billion, while the parent company of bitter rivals Reliance Jio said it would sell bonds worth up to INR200 billion.
The two operators are currently embroiled in a fierce battle alongside other market competitors in what is a saturated market. The merger deal between Vodafone and Idea Cellular has applied more pressure in the desperate battle for control of the lucrative Indian mobile market, which has resulted in a number of smaller players to fall by the wayside.
A timeline of events since the entrance of Reliance Jio in 2016 makes for grim reading - its free and discounted 4G deals have forced Telenor to sell its operation to Bharti Airtel. As highlighted above Vodafone and Idea Cellular were forced to merge. Aircel filed for bankruptcy and Reliance Communications is fighting off creditor litigation while attempting to sell assets.
As a consequence, investment company Jay Capital told Bloomberg that the battle was “down to the big boys” and both Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel were preparing a war-chest for the “last stretch”.