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Indian MNOs’ plight worsens as RCOM/Aircel merger collapses

The current consolidation of India’s mobile operators is considered essential to reverse spiralling prices – made worse by the entry of disruptive Reliance Jio – and to make MNOs sufficiently strong to invest in 5G. However, this process has suffered a setback just as the government, and some operators, start aiming for an early move towards 5G. One of two giant mergers on the table, between Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Aircel, has collapsed (the other is between Vodafone and Idea Cellular). RCOM is now looking at alternative, short term measures to reduce its massive debts of about INR450bn ($6.8bn). The Aircel deal was called off last week, with the company citing regulatory delays and opposition from some creditors. RCOM’s share…

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