Vodafone looks to partner more SMEs, start-ups to enhance digital service offers


Mumbai: Telecom service provider Vodafone India Ltd, which is gearing up to merge with Idea Cellular Ltd, is intensifying efforts to strengthen its presence in the digital space, both in the enterprise and retail segment, to drive growth, said Sunil Sood, chief executive officer and managing director of Vodafone India.

The company, which introduced its new brand position campaign last week following its launch globally, is looking to partner with more small and medium enterprises (SMEs), start-ups and state governments to enhance its digital services offers in future.

“We are in the cusp of a transformation. We are in the direction of making ourselves an agile, future-fit and digital telecom company,” Sood said, adding that start-ups and small and medium enterprises have a key role in fostering new ideas and enabling digital India.

At present, around 20% of its revenue comes from the enterprise business while the retail segment accounts for 80%. However, he expects that the enterprise business would rise sharply in the near future.

He also pointed out that new technologies like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Analytics and Machine Learning will all be dependent on the connectivity that telecom provides.

“Market consolidation has speeded up, and digital India is fast becoming a reality. We believe this is a real opportunity for us to capitalize on,” he added.

While he declined to provide details on the company’s merger with Idea Cellular, the company is awaiting approval from the National Company Law Tribunal which is expected to come in the first week of December, following which it will approach the department of telecommunications. The companies have got approval from the Competition Commission of India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India and stock exchanges.

“There are various work streams in the merger. We are working on what is the right organisation design. In our business the largest synergies by far are in the network and technology. As we will have already mentioned we will have $2 billion savings in the network with the merger.”

The company has already announced that the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular is set to be completed ahead of time in 2018. The merged entity will create the world’s second largest and India’s largest telecom, overtaking Bharti Airtel Ltd. It would have almost 400 million customers and 41% revenue market share.