Vodafone India and Idea Cellular denied reports they are seeking a merger involving new entrant Reliance Jio in India, the Hindustan Times reported.
A Vodafone source told the newspaper India’s current spectrum holding limits and revenue market share caps both discount a merger with Jio. A source at Idea Cellular also denied it was in merger talks with Jio, the newspaper reported.
The operators were linked to a potential move on Jio in a report by the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.
Competition in the country has intensified since the Jio brand was launched into the market during September. The new provider offered a range of free services to entice customers, leading to similar offers and reductions from the three incumbent operators — Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
In December, Reliance Jio announced it had added 52 million subscribers in its first three months of operation.
Vodafone Group made major investments to support its India unit in the last year, including a payment to reduce its debt and increase its 4G spectrum holding in an October auction.
In November, Vodafone announced its revenues for the country had expanded in its fiscal H1 (which covers the period to end-March) and confirmed it planned to proceed with an IPO of its Indian unit “as soon as market conditions allow”.