Vodafone India and Idea Cellular – which are slated to merge soon – have decided to sell their respective tower businesses in India to ATC Telecom Infrastructure for Rs. 78.5 billion.
According to PTI, in a joint statement, the two companies said Idea will sell its entire holding in Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd (ICISL) while Vodafone will divest its business undertaking to ATC Infra. The deal is expected to be completed by the first half of 2018.
The standalone tower businesses of Vodafone and Idea comprise a combined portfolio of nearly 20,000 towers. The tower deal will not affect the merger terms of the two companies. The sale of tower business is subject to regulatory and other approvals.
Earlier this year, Vodafone India and Idea had agreed to merge their operations to create the country’s largest telecom operator worth of more than $23 billion with a 35 per cent market share.
Vodafone India MD Sunil Sood had earlier said the merger of the two companies was on track for completion in 2018.
The combined entity of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which are currently India’s number 2 and 3, respectively, would dislodge Bharti Airtel to counter the bruising price war in the world’s second-largest telecom market.