Indian telecom majors Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea may team up to form a fibre joint venture on the same lines as Indus Towers, to take on billionaire Mukesh Ambani's telecom firm Reliance Jio.
The telecom duos already co-own a telecom tower company 'Indus Tower'. Incorporated in November 2007, Indus Towers is promoted under a joint venture between Bharti's arm Bharti Infratel and Vodafone Idea to render passive infrastructure services to telecom service providers.
Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal said on Tuesday that he has 'invited' Vodafone Idea to be a partner in his fibre company Telesonic, and the two can pool assets together, according to a Times of India report.
Vodafone Idea has given the proposal a 'warm' response, added Mittal.
"We have given an invitation. We did that in towers, and if you remember, Indus Towers was created. On the same lines, we have asked Vodafone-Idea to come and join the fibre company," Mittal told reporters during an interaction at the ongoing Mobile World Congress.
"It will be a two-party JV. We are starting with our own fibre company and if Vodafone Idea brings its fibre assets, then they will get appropriate shares."Sunil Mittal's Bharti Airtel is creating Telesonic Networks to accommodate all of its 246,000 kilometres of fibre assets.
"They have a lot of fibre, we have a lot of fibre. Though we have lot of overlaps, both of us will gain about 25% capacity and new routes which we don't have So, you stop wasting money," Mittal said.
When asked about a deal with Jio, Mittal said, "From our point of view, more the merrier. one fibre company will be perfect. We will first get the Vodafone thing going and will see after that."
According to industry expert, Airtel and Vodafone Idea can cut their cost on expansion of the fibre network by forming a joint venture.
Earlier this week, Vodafone group CEO Nick Reads had said that telecom companies 'need to collaborate and share network' to offer better coverage and manage costs efficiently.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar