Maxis’ Aircel merges with RCom to create new India operator

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CHENNAI: Maxis Communications Bhd has signed an agreement to merge its Indian mobile operator, Aircel, with Reliance Communications (RCom).

It is the largest-ever consolidation in the Indian telecom sector and will create a business with nearly 200 million customers and an 18.3 per cent market share.

A company statement said the merged company would have the second-largest spectrum holding amongst all operators, aggregating 448 MHz across the 850, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands.

Maxis and RCom will each own 50 per cent of the business.

A statement by the two companies said: “The RCom-Aircel combination will create a strong operator clearly ranked amongst India’s top four telcos by customer base and revenues, also ranking amongst the top three operators by revenues in 12 important circles [market areas].”

RCom has a 9.8 per cent market share with 110 million customers, making it the fourth biggest operator in India. Aircel, the fifth biggest in the market, has an 8.5 per cent share, with 84 million customers, according to a Capacitymedia report.

Maxis said the deal further reinforced its commitment to India as it had invested in excess of USD5.2 billion in Aircel, making this one of the largest foreign investments in the Indian telecom sector, according to a report in The Hindu.

Maxis Corporation Bhd (MCB) acquired Aircel in 2006.

“The magnitude of this investment, and the further equity commitment in support of this deal, are underpinned by MCB’s belief in the long term growth potential of both India and the Indian telecom sector,” said a MCB statement.

On consummation of the merger, RCom and MCB are committed to additional equity infusion into the merged company, according to The Hindu report.