Airtel open to fiber tie-up with Vodafone Idea: report

India's Bharti Airtel is “open” to the idea of creating a joint company with rival Vodafone Idea to jointly monetize the two operators' fiber networks, according to a new report.

The Economic Times cites unnamed “senior company executives” as stating that Airtel would be thrilled to share fiber assets and create a single company, noting that the companies have already been jointly building and sharing fiber assets.

Under a plan being considered by the company, the two companies would jointly own and operate the fiber network company in a similar way that the duo are already jointly operating tower company Indus Towers, the report states.

Both operators are attempting to recover revenue that has eroded as a result of the bitter price war triggered by the entry into the market of Reliance Jio Infocomm. This price war has already resulted in the market shrinking to just three private players, including through the merger between Vodafone India and Idea Cellular to create Vodafone Idea.

Bharti Airtel has been seeking to regain its position as the market's top operator by revenue market share, including by refocusing on heavy users and introducing minimum tariff plans. The potential tie-up with Vodafone Idea would represent another plank in this initiative.

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