Competition is set to heat up in Mumbai’s telecom market with Idea Cellular launching its services in the city on Wednesday. Nearly 80 per cent of the city’s population uses mobile phones. No telecom operator started services in the city since 2004.
“We aim to get at least 20 per cent of the new cell connections in Mumbai,” said Sanjeev Aga, managing director, Idea Cellular. “We are aiming to start generating profits within four years of operations.”
While Idea has already paid Rs 600 crore towards licence fee for the Mumbai operations, it will spend another Rs 200 crore for providing the infrastructure facilities to rollout the network services.
“I feel all new operators with a fresh network will have a chance here,” said Nishna Biyani, telecom analyst with Prabhudas Leeladhar, a city-based brokerage firm. “The game is all about carrying number of minutes. Idea will have an edge with its strong presence in the Maharashtra circle.”
Maharashtra has two telecom circles — Mumbai and the rest of the state. Mumbai alone adds over 3.5 lakh subscribers every month.
Vodafone Essar is the current market leader in Mumbai with 3.7 million subscribers while Reliance Communication stands at the second slot with 3 million subscribers. The other operators include Bharti Airtel, state-owned MTNL, Tata Teleservices and BPL Mobile.
Idea Cellular, the fifth largest cellular operator in the country, has 28.2 million subscribers as of July. Idea shares were up 2.81 per cent to close at Rs 84.20 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Wednesday.