Talking to ET Now, Rajan Mathews, DG, COAI, says the four players are Jio, Airtel-Tata Tele, Idea-Voda and perhaps BSNL- MTNL as the fourth player. RComm and Aircel are the only outliers left.
What is your first take on the Tata Tele-Bharti deal?
We have been saying all along that consolidation is going to be the dominant activity going forward and that is exactly what we are seeing. This is certainly good news for the consumers and certainly for Tata consumers because now they have a very defined path forward with one of the leading operators in the country. They should see an enhancement in the quality of the service that they have. It is very clearly sort of positioned for the benefit of the consumer.
So that definitely puts more might and weight when it comes to subscriber addition as well for Bharti?
Clearly this is a win-win for the operators because obviously they get to consolidate their operations and efficiencies in a network that clearly scales the dominant driving force in terms of efficiencies. This should be good news for the consumers who can now start getting the benefits of 4G LTE which is a dominant technology that is being provided by Airtel. Finally, it is also good for the employees. We were obviously unsure what would happen to the large number of employees but again this should be good news for the employees of Tatas as well. So, all around good news.
Largely it was expected that people or companies which have small base would tend to explore M&As. Do you expect more such consolidations to continue?
When you look at the playing field right now, the only outliers in terms of consolidation opportunity is the remaining RComm-Aircel deal which seems to have unwound most recently. That seems to be the only other operators in play. Obviously Jio has got its dominant position. Airtel is there, Voda-Idea has merged; Telenor is already merging with Airtel and MTS has already merged with RComm. Now, Tatas are joining Airtel. So, what we would expect is three dominant players in the private domain which is Jio, Airtel, Idea-Voda and perhaps BSNL, MTNL as the fourth PSU. This is going to be the emerging landscape. People are waiting to see what is going to happen with the RComm-Aircel merger or demerger or whatever else is going to happen.