Price Fixing – Part III

Please read Part I and Part II before reading further.

Vodafone and Bharati Airtel are two big brands in India. Before Vodafone entering into India, it bought 10% share in Airtel. From Wikipedia, “On 28 October 2005, the Company announced the acquisition of a 10 per cent stake in India’s Bharti Televentures, which operates the largest mobile phone network in India under the brand name AirTel. On 22 December 2005, the Company announced the completion of the acquisition of the 10% stake in Bharti Televentures of India.” Some days back when I had accidentally typed airtel.com it was redirected to Vodafone page. (Isn’t it funny?). Now you can check that such a page does not exist and I tried to get the domain registrar’s name and it was not fruitful.

Vodafone has sold 5.6% stake in Airtel back to Airtel itself and holds currently 4.4% stake officially. I guess it plans of offload but don’t know when it plans to do so. My other guess is that by now unofficially it would have bought same percentage or more from the open market. It is possible to do that in unfair market. We are in such a market only.

Assuming Vodafone has 5% stake in Bharati Airtel that means one of the directors of the Airtel will be from Vodafone. So he will be having all the details of Airtel. He will know exactly what the operations are and how the Airtel is going to go about it. If that is the case then will the customers get something that is really worth their money? I guess the answer is no again. India is supposed to be the cheapest in terms of Revenue Per User (RPU). Everyone is trying to increase the RPU and I guess it should be done in a fair way. I guess by now, Vodafone would have bought at least 10% more of Airtel shares (My guess obviously)

So now two big players are working like hand in glove, they literally know what other is doing. If they somehow buy the third biggest competitor then the whole market is at their mercy, literally. If they can’t buy then at least they can have pact in such a way that it does not hurt either of their business. This is not at all fair in our “DEMOCRATIC” nation. Customers are fooled in a big way.

Now, isn’t it the duty of MRTPC to check what is happening? Why the prices of the messages so high? How on earth is it different that on certain days the price of message higher on other days? How come all the operators are charging one rupee per message on certain days? You think it is fair?

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