Vodafone Idea Rebrands As ‘Vi’ To Mark Merger Completion
Vodafone Idea Ltd. has rebranded itself as ‘Vi’, read as ‘we’, nearly two years after the two telecom operators merged as a result of a brutal tariff war effected by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd.
Vodafone Idea's share price rose as much as 4%, compared with a 0.06% drop in the Nifty 50, after the rebranding was announced on Monday.
"The brand integration not only marks the completion of the largest telecom merger in the world, but also sets us on our future journey to offer world-class digital experiences to one billion Indians on our strong 4G network," Ravinder Takkar, managing director and chief executive officer at Vodafone Idea, said in a statement.
The new entity, he said, will be leaner, agile and better prepared to fit into the future world of digital and 5G. It will also continue to invest in developing its infrastructure and newer technologies such as high-speed and secure leased lines, MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) and cloud services, the statement said.
Vodafone Idea hasn’t reported an annual profit since Vodafone Group Plc’s India unit and Aditya Birla Group’s Idea Cellular announced their merger in 2017, as it lost subscribers and was weighed down by a massive debt. Its subscriber base fell to 30.9 crore as of May 2020 compared with Reliance Jio's 39.27 crore and Bharti Airtel Ltd.'s 31.7 crore.
The telecom operator’s board recently approved up to Rs 25,000-crore fundraising by way of either issuing equity shares, global depository receipts, American depository receipts, foreign currency bonds, convertible debentures, or warrants. Besides, a Reuters report said Amazon.com Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. are planning to invest $4 billion in the company. While that sent the shares of the company soaring, the board had clarified on the bourses that currently there is no such proposal that is being considered.
Also, Vodafone Idea, along with peer Bharti Airtel and others, recently received some legal relief from the Supreme Court in a near two-decade battle with the government over calculation of adjusted gross revenue. The company owes Rs 50,400 crore to the Department of Telecommunications in past dues, and has debt of Rs 1,65,900 crore (including AGR liabilities).