Vodafone Idea has completed network integration in 92% of total districts as of date despite three months of lockdown due to COVID-19.
The network integration is in final stages of completion. Integration of Uttar Pradesh (E), Gujarat and Delhi circles was completed in January, 2020 and Uttar Pradesh (W) was completed in March, 2020, taking the integrated circles count to 18.
In the remaining 4 circles – Maharashtra & Goa, Mumbai, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, integration continues on a cluster-by-cluster basis, with subscribers of both brands benefitting from the integrated network, which has significantly greater coverage and capacity. Due to the continuation of nationwide lockdown, the remaining consolidation is expected to take longer than initially expected.
Ravinder Takkar, MD & CEO, Vodafone Idea said, “Our focus on rapid network integration, as well as 4G coverage and capacity expansion, has further improved customer experience. We have achieved our full opex merger synergy target. Despite the nationwide lockdown since March due to COVID-19, our teams across all circles continue to work effectively in these difficult times with support of the local authorities, to ensure seamless connectivity for our customers.”
‘The improved coverage and capacity following integration, coupled with the deployment of TDD sites, Massive MIMO and LTE 900 on select sites has increased our overall data capacity, which has now more than doubled compared to September, 2018. This has driven a significant improvement in data speeds and customer experience across all circles. We now have the fastest 4G download speeds across the three metros of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, along with West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, based on Ookla data, consistently for the last 2 quarters (Q3FY20 and Q4FY20),” added Takkar.
As part of network integration, Vodafone Idea had removed surplus equipment from around 64,000 sites out of the total of 73,000 co-located sites by the end of March, 2020, further reducing costs. In addition, the company had exited around 18,000 low utilization sites by the end of March, 2020.
Post completion of de-duplication exercise for synergy realization, the company has initiated a further cost optimization plan across the company in line with the evolving industry structure and business model to achieve the next level of efficiency.