Vodafone Idea network integration delayed due to Covid-led lockdown
The network integration between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular is in final stages of completion but has been impacted by the nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19. The two operators had announced their merger in 2018 and now function as a single company with two brands. “As of date, we have completed network integration in 92 per cent of total districts. Integration of Uttar Pradesh (E), Gujarat and Delhi circles was completed in January and Uttar Pradesh (W) was completed in March, 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,” Vodafone Idea said while declaring its financial results. “Due to the continuation of nationwide lockdown, the remaining consolidation is expected to take longer than initially expected,” it added. The operator said that as part of its network integration, it had removed surplus equipment from 64,000 sites out of the total of 73,000 co-located sites by March-end, further reducing costs. In addition, it had exited 18,000 low utilisation sites by March-end. However, the lockdown did not have any impact on the services offered to customers. “While in the initial period of lockdown, the customer’s ability to recharge, availability of physical recharge, acquisition of new customers as well as network rollout were somewhat adversely impacted, the services to our customers continued without any material disruption,” the operator said.