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As On 27-Nov-2020 EOD, Market Closed
-110.02 (-0.25%)
-18.05 (-0.14%)
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Idea Cellular Ltd. is the third largest wireless operator by subscribers in India with a Revenue Market Share of approximately 15.9% of the Indian mobile telecommunications services industry in Q3 December 2017. Idea Cellular is a pan-India integrated wireless broadband operator offering 2G, 3G and 4G services, and has its own National Long Distance (NLD) and International Long Distance (ILD) operations, and Internet service provider (ISP) license. With nearly 200 million subscribers, Idea ranks sixth in the global rankings of operators in subscriber terms, for single country operations. The company offers affordable and world-class mobile services to varied segments of mobile users.

The company is an Aditya Birla Group Company. They offers basic voice and short message service (SMS) services to high-end value added and general packet radio service (GPRS) services, such as Blackberry, Datacard, Mobile TV and Games. Their subsidiaries include Swinder Singh Satara and Co Ltd, Aditya Birla Telecom Ltd, Idea Cellular Services Ltd, Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd, Idea Cellular Towers Infrastructure Ltd and Carlos Towers Ltd.

Idea Cellular Ltd was incorporated in the year 1995 with the name Birla Communications Ltd. The company obtained licenses for providing GSM-based services in the Gujarat and Maharashtra Circles following the original GSM license bidding process. In the year 1996, the company changed the name from Birla Communication Ltd to Birla AT&T Communications Ltd following joint venture between Grasim Industries and AT&T Corporation. In the year 1997, they commenced operations in the Gujarat and Maharashtra Circles.

In the year 2000, the company merged with Tata Cellular Ltd, thereby acquired original license for the Andhra Pradesh Circle. In the year 2001, they acquired the RPG Cellular Ltd and consequently, they acquired the license for the Madhya Pradesh (including Chattisgarh) Circle. Also, they obtained the license for providing GSM-based services in the Delhi Circle following the fourth operator GSM license bidding process. The name of the company was changed from Birla Communications Ltd to Birla Tata AT&T Ltd.

In the year 2002, the name of the company was further changed to Idea Cellular Ltd and also, they launched the 'Idea' brand name. They commenced commercial operation in Delhi circle. In June 3, 2002, they acquired Swinder Singh Satara & Company Ltd through a share purchase agreement. In the year 2004, the company acquired Escotel Mobile Communications Ltd (subsequently renamed as Idea Mobile Communications Limited). They commercially launched EDGE services 2005 and became the first operator in India to do so.

In the year 2005, the company won an Award for the 'Bill Flash' service at GSM Association Awards in Barcelona, Spain. They sponsored the International Indian Film Academy Awards. In the year 2006, the company became a part of the Aditya Birla Group subsequent to the TATA Group transferring their entire shareholding in the company to the Aditya Birla Group. They received Letter of Intent from the DoT for a new UAS License for the Mumbai Circle. Also, they received Letter of Intent from the DoT for a new UAS License for the Bihar Circle through Aditya Birla Telecom Ltd.

During the year 2006-07, the company commenced National Long Distance service to carry part of the Company's own traffic. They launched commercial mobile services in the service areas of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (East) and Himachal Pradesh. They made Initial Public Offering and raised Rs 25,000 million. They won an award for the 'CARE' service in the 'Best Billing or Customer Care Solution' at the GSM Association Awards in Barcelona, Spain.

During the year, the company entered into a ten years business transformation pact to integrate, innovate, and transform its business processes and IT infrastructure with International Business Machines (IBM). They signed USD 500 million contract with Nokia Siemens Networks to expand and strengthen the Company's network. Also, they singed a USD 343 million contract for GSM expansion with Ericsson in the Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh service areas.

In June 2006, Escorts Telecommunications Ltd became the subsidiary of the company and subsequently was renamed as Idea Telecommunications Ltd. In February 2007, they acquired 10,000,000 equity shares of Rs.10 each of Aditya Birla Telecom Ltd, a company holding License to operate in the telecom service area of Bihar, for a purchase consideration of Rs 100 million.

During the year 2007-08, the company expanded their network from 4432 cities and towns to 13308 cities and towns. They formed three new subsidiaries namely, Idea Cellular Services Ltd, Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd and Idea Cellular Tower Infrastructure Ltd. The main purpose of Idea Cellular Services Ltd is to provide manpower services to Idea Cellular and Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Ltd & Idea Cellular Tower Infrastructure Ltd are meant for hiving off Idea's passive infrastructure network.

In December 2007, the company in association with Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Essar formed a joint venture, namely Indus Tower to provide passive infrastructure services in India to all operators on a non discretionary basis. In February 2008, the company received the Unified Access Services Licences for the telecom service areas of Punjab, Karnataka, Tamilnadu including Chennai, North East, West Bengal, Kolkatta, Jammu & Kashmir, Orissa and Assam.

During the year 2008-09, the company acquired 40.8% stake in Spice Communications Ltd (Spice), having operations in Punjab and Karnataka service areas, from MCorp Global Communications Pvt Ltd, the erstwhile promoters of Spice. They launched services in Mumbai, Orissa, Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Jammu & Kashmir, Kolkata and West Bengal. In addition, Aditya Birla Telecom Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary, launched operations in Bihar (including Jharkhand) service area.

During the year, the company made a tie-up with Indian Oil Corporation, the largest petroleum company in India, to use their petrol pumps and gas agencies for branding and distribution of Idea SIM Cards and Recharge Vouchers. They were the first operator in India to launch Nokia Life Tools in association with Nokia. They launched 'International Airtime Transfer', a unique VAS service, whereby NRI community can directly recharge the prepaid mobiles of Idea subscribers in India through several international merchants and the web in Gulf, the USA and UK.

During the year, the company launched NetSetter Data Cards and Blackberry solutions to cater to their data-savvy consumer segments. As per the scheme of arrangement, the company de-merged their passive infrastructure assets in the service areas of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (both East & West including Uttarakhand), Haryana, Kerala, Rajasthan and Mumbai to Idea Cellular Towers Infrastructure Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary, with an appointed date of January 1, 2009.

During the year 2009-10, the company expanded their pan-India presence through service launches in Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir, Kolkata, West Bengal, Assam and North East service areas, thereby making it a nationwide service provider. As one of Idea's new VAS activities, the company launched 'Buddy Recharge' - a unique peer-to-peer talk time transfer product. They also launched Oongli Cricket during the IPL season.

During the year, the company launched a standardized self care portal 'CARE' which gives information to the customer on products/tariffs and information of their account such as billed amount, last recharge, last calls, unbilled amount, etc. They were the first operator to launch 'Pre Tones', which is an innovative VAS service which allows the user to listen to the caller tones of his/her own choice while making an outgoing call instead of listening to the respondent's caller tone.

As per the scheme of arrangement, the company telecom operations of the Bihar service area along with certain assets and liabilities of Aditya Birla Telecom Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary was de-merged and transferred to the company with effect from March 1, 2010. Spice Communications Ltd which had operations in the Punjab and Karnataka service areas, and licenses for National and International Long Distance operations was amalgamated with the company with effect from March 1, 2010. Also, Carlos Towers Ltd became a subsidiary company pursuant to the amalgamation of Spice Communications Ltd with the company.

In April 2010, the company received a License for providing pan India Internet Services (ISP License). In the 3G Spectrum auction, the company emerged as a winner in 11 Service Areas viz. Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh (E), Uttar Pradesh (W), Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, at a total cost of Rs 5,768.59 crore.

During the year under review, the company became a pan India operator following the roll out of services in the remaining service areas of Orissa, Tamilnadu (including Chennai), Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Kolkata, North East and Assam.

In January 20, 2011, the Company launched mobile number portability (MNP), an invite to all Indian mobile customers to change their wireless operator, while retaining their mobile number. In March, 2011 Company launched 3G services in 9 out of these 11 service areas. The Company also entered into bilateral roaming arrangement for the service areas of Mumbai, Bihar, Karnataka, Delhi, Kolkata and Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), with leading quality operators, enabling it to offer 3G services in 15 service areas.

In 2012, Department of Telecom (DoT) has said that the proposal of Malaysia based Axiata group to raise 1 per cent stake in Idea cellular to 21 per cent would not create any fresh security threat for the country. The company bagged the prestigious World Communication Awards 2012 (WCA) under the Best Brand Campaign' category at the recently held awards ceremony in London. The company wins at the prestigious World Communication Awards 2012, second year consecutively. In 2013, the company Signs Unified License with the Department of Telecommunications -Idea Cellular introduces buffet plans for post-paid subscribers. In 2014, the company wins wins 900 MHz for Delhi, and 4G in 8 strategic markets.

In 2015, Microsoft has tied with Idea Cellular to launch operator billing on the Windows Store for Idea subscribers. The company has successfully retained the crucial 900 MHz spectrum and won 54 MHz of 900 MHz spectrum. Videocon Telecommunications sold its spectrum in Gujarat and UP (West) circles to the company at a valuation of Rs 3,310 crore during the year. The company launches world-class, high-speed 4G LTE services in all four Telecom service areas of South India. The company launches 4G in all 5 states of South India, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

In 2016, Idea Cellular launched 4G services across key markets viz. Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, Orissa, North East Service Area and Himachal Pradesh. During the year, the company won spectrum in FDD technology on 1800 and 2100 bands, and in TDD technology on 2300 and 2500 bands to achieve pan-India wireless broadband footprint.

On 16 March 2016, Idea Cellular and Videocon Telecommunications Limited mutually agreed to terminate their earlier agreement regarding Transfer of Right to Use 1800 MHz Spectrum' in two service areas with immediate effect. Earlier, on 24 November 2015, the Board of Directors of Idea had empowered the company to enter into an acquisition agreement for right to use 1800 MHz spectrum of Videocon Telecommunications Limited (VTL) in the telecom service areas of Gujarat and U.P. (West) for an aggregate consideration of Rs 3310 crore (approx.), pursuant to the DoT Guidelines for Trading of Access Spectrum by Access Service Providers dated 12 October 2015.

The Board of Directors of Idea Cellular at its meeting held on 28 April 2016 decided to consolidate the company's business of providing tower infrastructure services through approximately 7,997 telecom towers that it owns and operates across India (Tower Infrastructure Undertaking) with its wholly owned subsidiary, Idea Cellular Infrastructure Services Limited (ICISL) which is engaged in the business of providing tower infrastructure services in Bihar and Orissa. To implement this transaction, a business transfer agreement will be executed between Idea Cellular and ICISL. ICISL will issue approximately 10,000 equity shares to Idea Cellular in consideration for the tower infrastructure undertaking. The transfer of the tower infrastructure undertaking to ICISL is expected to be completed within 3 to 6 months subject to obtaining requisite regulatory approvals.

On 30 January, 2017, Idea Cellular announced the launch of 3 new exciting entertainment apps - Idea Music Lounge, Idea Movie Club, and Idea Game Spark. The new suite of integrated Digital Apps present one of the best range of entertainment content for its nearly 200 million customers. With the launch of Idea Music Lounge, Idea Movie Club and Idea Game Spark, the company has begun its transformation from a pure play mobile operator to an integrated digital services and solutions provider.

On 20 March 2017, Idea Cellular and Vodafone Group Plc announced that they have reached an agreement to combine their operations in India (excluding Vodafone's 42% stake in Indus Towers) to create India's largest telecom operator. The combined company would become the leading communications provider in India with almost 400 million customers, 35% customer market share and 41% revenue market share. The brand strategy of the combined company will be developed in due course and will leverage customers' affinity for both existing brands, built up over the past decade. The name of the combined listed company will be changed in due course.

The combined company will have sufficient spectrum to compete effectively with the other major operators in the market. It would hold 1,850 MHz, including circa 1,645 MHz of liberalised spectrum acquired through auctions. It will be capable of building substantial mobile data capacity, utilising the largest broadband spectrum portfolio with 34 3G carriers and 129 4G carriers across the country. Vodafone India's strong presence in metro circles and Idea's leadership in semi-urban and rural telecom markets will allow for nationwide leadership within Indian M&A guidelines. In circles where both Idea and Vodafone India currently have a limited presence, the combined entity will become the leading challenger with the scale to compete more effectively and enhance consumer choice.

On 25 May 2017, Idea Cellular announced that it has completed pan-India 4G rollout with the launch of 4G services in Mumbai on 2100 MHz spectrum band.

On 24 July, 2017, Idea Cellular announced that the Competition Commission of India has approved the proposed merger of Vodafone India, Vodafone Mobile Services Limited, and Idea Cellular under sub section (1) of section 31 of the Act. The transaction is expected to close during calendar year 2018 subject to customary approvals.

On 14 September 2017, Idea Cellular announced that it has achieved a major milestone in its network growth journey. The company has rapidly expanded network to 260,000 sites across the country with 50% sites dedicated to mobile broadband services, establishing it as India's Big 4G network'. Idea added nearly 50,000 broadband sites over the last 12 months period ending August 2017, growing its broadband footprint to cover 5,888 Census towns and nearly 105,755 villages, reaching out to 45% population of the country. It has set up an optical fibre network of approximately 150,000 route kms to strengthen its wireless broadband services.

On 13 November 2017, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India announced that they have separately agreed to sell their respective standalone telecom tower businesses in India to ATC Telecom Infrastructure Private Limited, a majority owned subsidiary of American Tower Corporation, for an aggregate enterprise value of Rs 7850 crore (USD 1.2 billion). The standalone telecom tower businesses of Idea Cellular and Vodafone India are pan-India passive telecommunication infrastructure businesses, comprising a combined portfolio of approximately 20,000 towers with a combined tenancy ratio of 1.65x as at 30 June 2017.

On 12 January 2018, Idea Cellular announced that the National Company Law Tribunal Bench at Ahmedabad vide its order dated 11 January 2018 has sanctioned the Composite Scheme of Amalgamation and Arrangement among Vodafone Mobile Services Limited and Vodafone India Limited and Idea Cellular and their respective shareholders and creditors. On 12 February 2018, Idea Cellular completed the allotment of 32.66 crore equity shares to the promoter Aditya Birla Group entities at an issue price of Rs 99.50 per share aggregating to Rs 3250 crore. As a result of this preferential allotment, the aggregate shareholding of the promoter group in Idea has increased from 42.4% to 47.2%.

On 23 February 2018, Idea Cellular announced the successful closure of its qualified institutions placement. The company issued and allotted approximately 42.42 crore equity shares of face value of Rs 10 each to qualified institutional buyers at an issue price of Rs 82.50 per equity share, aggregating to approximately Rs 3500 crore. This equity raise of Rs 3500 crore along with recent infusion of Rs 3250 crore by Idea's promoter/promoter group will reduce Idea's net-debt by approximately Rs 6750 crore.

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Flash News 27-Nov-2020
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