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India’s MNOs finally drive up ARPU, but fines and spectrum will negate the gains

The Indian operators have raised prices, and after years of price wars and consolidation, the huge market may finally start to behave more like others, with three major MNOs able to make sustainable margins, and a rising degree of convergence. However, government policy remains a barrier to ending many years of dysfunction and over-competition. High spectrum prices still threaten to derail the 5G business case, and operators are also facing huge fines, imposed by Supreme Court a few weeks ago – charges which could drive Vodafone Idea out of the market altogether. The number of MNOs has fallen from about 15 a decade ago to three national players (Vodafone Idea, Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel) plus the ailing state-owned duo,…

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