Indian upstart Reliance Jio Infocomm is looking at acquiring smaller companies to gain market share and compete better with the country’s larger players, according to the Economic Times.
India’s newest entrant, which recently put back plans to commercially launch 4G from December to April (at the earliest) next year, is reportedly keen to beef up its operations as it battles for subscribers with market leader Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular.
A senior executive at the company, owned by Reliance Industries, told the publication the company sees space for four players in India, with “consolidation a necessity”.
“We are definitely on the prowl for subscribers… we are predators and there are many prey,” said the source.
Rumoured targets for the company include the spectrum and assets of Reliance Communications, Tata Telecom, Aircel and Videocon, according to market watchers.
The company could also look to form partnerships with rivals, as part of the strategy, as well as buying up more spectrum, and even assets such as towers or fibre networks.
Jio has already announced a deal with Reliance Communications to share spectrum.
Jio will launch 4G after becoming the first operator in India to hold a pan unified licence, through a reported $15 billion investment.
Market leader Bharti Airtel is aggressively pushing 4G across the country after announcing in August plans to offer 4G service in about 400 towns and villages by the end of the year.
Vodafone India, the country’s second largest operator, this week rolled out its first 4G service in Kochi, Kerela state, with plans to soon launch in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata.
Idea and state-owned BSNL are targeting a 2016 rollout.
Earlier this week, Bharti Airtel’s chairman Sunil Mittal said he, too, expects consolidation as Jio enters the fray.