Vodafone to invest over $2 billion in India

Britain’s Vodafone Group Plc has indicated that it will invest more than $2 billion in India following a government decision to allow foreign companies to fully own local carriers, Telecommunications minister Kapil Sibal said.

“Vodafone is bringing in more than a couple of billion dollars,” Sibal told Reuters in an interview. “They will bring in investment and take advantage of the 100 per cent FDI that is now in place.”

Vodafone intends to increase its stake in its Indian subsidiary following the removal of a 74 per cent cap on investment by foreign firms in telecoms, a source told Reuters earlier this month.
Sibal gave no further details of Vodafone’s plans, and a company spokesman in London was not immediately available to comment.

Sibal said the government wants consolidation in India’s 12-player telecoms market, and hopes to allow deals between carriers with a combined market share of up to 60 percent in new merger and acquisition rules expected by the end of this month.

He also said it was “possible” that the government could hold another auction of third-generation (3G) spectrum, which would be the first since 2010, but he gave no timeline for this.

The government plans to auction 4G airwaves in the 700 megahertz band in “a year or so”, he added.