UK-backed cellco Vodafone India is expected to capitalise on recent changes to foreign direct investment (FDI) rules for the telecom sector by increasing the UK group’s ownership of the operator to 100%, as well as infusing the company with an investment of more than USD2 billion. India’s telecoms minister Kapil Sibal was quoted by Reuters as saying that: ‘Vodafone is bringing in more than a couple of billion dollars. They will bring in investment and take advantage of the 100% FDI that is now in place.’ Sibal added that the government was keen to encourage consolidation in the country’s crowded market and was considering the introduction of new merger and acquisition rules by the end of the month. The official also said that the ministry plans to hold an auction for 700MHz spectrum in a ‘year or so’ and hinted at a possible sale of additional 3G frequencies, without giving a timeline for the tender.
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