Etisalat re-enters India’s telecom market

17 May 2022

Etisalat will secure indirect entry into India’s telecom market after acquiring a 9.8% stake in the British operator Vodafone for US$4.4bn.

The latter owns a nearly 47% stake in Vodafone Idea and a circa 10% stake in the British firm will give Etisalat an indirect 4.67% stake in the Indian business. Etisalat previously entered the Indian telecom market in 2008, which was cut short after the Supreme Court cancelled 122 telecom licenses in the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Etisalat exited India in February 2012, affecting nearly 16.7 lakh Indian subscribers in 2012. At that time, the company stated that its future participation in the India market will be decided when there is “clarity on the spectrum auction process”.

While Vodafone Idea has been looking for a strategic investor at the moment, it remains unclear if the UAE-based firm will be directly investing in Vodafone Idea.

“Our investment represents a unique opportunity to acquire a significant stake in one of the leading global telecom brands and a company that we know well,” said Hatem Dowidar, group chief executive, Etisalat. “We are looking forward to building a mutually beneficial strategic partnership with Vodafone with the goal of driving value creation for both our businesses, exploring opportunities in the developing global telecom market and supporting the adoption of next-generation technologies.”