Vodafone CEO Arun Sarin told 3GSM attendees his $11.1 billionacquisition of controlling interest in India’s Hutchisson Essar will “fundamentally change” the world’s most popular mobile network. The British-based operator won an auction over the weekend for the 67 percent stake in India’s fourth-largest operator, giving it a foothold in what is set to be a lucrative market.
“Personally, I’m very excited because it fundamentally changes the kind of business we are,” Sarin said in a keynote address. “This [attention on developing regions] has absolutely been our strategy for the last few years. We’ve been gradually moving our biz to where the growth is – India presents a tremendous opportunity for us. Penetration in India today is 13 percent. This number is going to be 40 percent (or 500 million subscribers) in just five years. Minutes of use in India are close to 400 per subscribers per month. In Europe, the number is 150; in the US, the number is 800 — there’s massive opportunity here for our businesses in India.”