Idea beats Reliance in launching 4G services

New Delhi, Dec 23 (ANI): Idea Cellular, India’s third-biggest mobile phone operator, launched its 4G mobile phone services across South India on Wednesday, beating the long-awaited debut of Reliance Jio.

Introducing high speed fourth-generation network, Idea said a handful of major towns were covered immediately, but all towns and cities in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana would be covered by March 2016.

Reliance Industries, headed by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, has yet to announce a date for its own rollout of what will be the nation’s biggest 4G broadband network.

The Reliance mobile phone business is India’s fourth-biggest by customer numbers while Aircel ranks fifth. The combined business would surpass Vodafone’s Indian operation as number two in the sector.

India’s telecoms market is the world’s second-biggest behind China in terms of mobile phone subscriptions, but tough competition means low margins for the 10 carriers.

Reliance Communications, controlled by Anil Ambani, has entered a 90-day exclusivity period for the talks with Aircel. Financial details of the proposed transaction have not been disclosed.

In the first sign of sector consolidation, Reliance Communications last month agreed to buy Russian conglomerate Sistema’s Indian mobile phone business in an all-stock deal. (ANI)

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