Idea Cellular

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Idea Cellular Limited
Public Limited Company
Industry Telecom Services
Founded 1995
Headquarters Kalina, Mumbai, India[1]
Key people
Kumar Mangalam Birla
Products Mobile telephony, wireless broadband
Revenue INR265 billion (US$4.2 billion) (2013–14)[2]
INR28.79 billion (US$450 million) (2011)
INR19.68 billion (US$310 million) (2013–14)
Total assets US$5.334 billion (2010)
Members 15.05 crore[3] (2014)
Number of employees
6,481 (2010)
Parent Aditya Birla Group (49.05%)
Axiata Group Berhad (19.96%)
Providence Equity (10.6%)
Slogan 'An idea can change your life'

Idea Cellular, commonly referred to as Idea, is an Indian mobile network operator based in Mumbai, India. Idea is a pan-India integrated GSM operator offering 2G and 3G services, and has its own NLD and ILD operations, and ISP license. With revenue in excess of $4 billion; revenue market share of nearly 15%; and subscriber base of over 121 million in FY 2013, Idea is India’s third largest mobile operator. Idea ranks among the top 10 country operators in the world with a traffic of over 1.5 billion minutes a day.


Initially the Birlas, the Tatas and AT&T Wireless each held one-third equity in the company. But following AT&T Wireless' merger with Cingular Wireless in 2004, Cingular decided to sell its 32.9% stake in Idea. This stake was bought by both the Tatas and Birlas at 16.45% each.

Tata's foray into the cellular market with its own subsidiary, Tata Indicom, a CDMA-based mobile provider, cropped differences between the Tatas and the Birlas. This dual holding by the Tatas also became a major reason for the delay in Idea being granted a license to operate in Mumbai. This was because as per Department of Telecommunications (DOT) license norms, one promoter could not have more than 10% stake in two companies operating in the same circle and Tata Indicom was already operating in Mumbai when Idea filed for its licence.

The Birlas thus approached the DOT and sought its intervention, and the Tatas replied by saying that they would exit Idea but only for a good price. On 10 April 2006, the Aditya Birla Group announced its acquisition of the 48.18% stake held by the Tatas at Rs. 40.51 a share amounting to Rs. 44.06 billion. While 15% of the 48.14% stake was acquired by Aditya Birla Nuvo, a company in-charge of the Birlas' new business initiatives, the remaining stake was acquired by Birla TMT holdings Private Ltd., an AV Birla family-owned company. Currently, Aditya Birla Group holds 49.05% of the total shares of the company. Malaysia based Axiata controls a 19.96% stake in the company.[4]


On 19 May 2010, the 3G spectrum auction in India ended. Idea paid INR 5,768.59 crore for spectrum in 11 circles. The circles it will provide 3G in are Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Goa, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh (East) and Uttar Pradesh (West).[5]

On 28 March 2011, Idea launched 3G services in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.[6] The launch cities were Ahmedabad, Shimla and Indore. This makes Idea the sixth private operator (eighth overall) to launch its 3G services in the country following Tata Docomo, Reliance Communications, Airtel, Aircel and Vodafone.

Idea currently supports up to 21.1 Mbit/s over 2G speeds of 256 kbit/s. However, different handsets support different speeds, from 384 kbit/s, 3.6 Mbit/s, 7.2 Mbit/s or 21.1 Mbit/s. Speeds also depend on the 3G plan/recharge that users opt for.[7]

Idea cellular has announced a cut of 70% in the tariff of its 3G services.[8]

On 23 November 2011 Idea Cellular launched two affordable 3G handsets in India: Idea 3G Smartphone Blade priced at INR 7,992 and Idea 3G Smartphone priced at INR 5,850. Both handsets are based on Android 2.2 Froyo.[9]

Idea has also launched a Dual-SIM Android smartphone in India on 15 June 2012 named as Idea ID-918 at a price point of Rs. 5,994 ($108 approx.) It features Android v2.3 OS, 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, 3G, Wi-Fi and 3.2 MP rear facing camera.

On 5 March 2013, Idea launched another 3G smartphone called Idea Zeal 3G which is a Dual SIM phone with 3 Megapixel camera.

Pan-India 3G coverage[edit]

Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have begun collaborating to provide 3G coverage to their customers pan India. The agreement aims to provides for these companies to offer 3G services to their customers in circles where they have not won any spectrum. It is expected that the 3 companies will be able to provide 3G services in all circles in India except Orissa where the three have not won any spectrum.[10]

3G coverage[edit]

Idea's 3G service is currently available in the following cities in 14 telecom circles

Telecom Circle State/Region No. of Towns Cities/Towns
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh 12 Chittoor Akiveedu, Amalapuram, Anantapur, Machilipatnam, Narsapur, Palakol, Tadepalligudem, Mandapeta, Vizag, Vizianagaram, Vijayawada, Yanam.
Telangana 6 Choutuppal, Hyderabad, Jaggaiahpet, Kamareddy, Siddipet, Warangal, Nizamabad.
Delhi Delhi 2 Delhi, NCR
Gujarat Gujarat 2 Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar.
Daman and Diu 1 Daman.
Haryana Haryana 90 Ambala, Bhiwani, Hansi, Hisar, Jhajjar, Panipat, Rewari, Rohtak,Adampur, Agroha, Asandh, Asauda, Badli, Baljattan, Barsi Barwala-His, Bawal, Beri, Bhadra, Bhalgarh, Bilaspur-Nh8, Bolni, Charkhidadri, Dabwali, Dharuhera, Dighal, Farookhnagar, Fatehabad, Gannaur, Gar-Shahjanpur, Garhi Harsaru, Gharaunda, Gohana, Hailymandi, Hodal, Ismaila, Ismailabad, Jakhoda, Jamalpur-Ggn, Jhansa, Jind, Julana, Kahanaur, Kaithal, Kalanaur, Kalka, Kaninakhas, Karnal, Kassan, Khatiwas, Kohand, Kori Kalan, Kosli, Kundli, Kurukshetra, Ladwa, Madhuban, Mahendragarh, Manesar, Meham, Naraingarh, Narnaund, Narwana, Nilokheri, Nuh, Palwal, Panchgaon, Pinjore, Pundri, Punhana, Pinangwan, Radaur, Rania, Rohad, Samalakha, Sampla, Shahbad, Silkho, Sirsa, Sohna, Sonipat, Tatarpur, Tauru, Tohana, Tosham, Uchana, Uklana, Yamunanagar.
Himachal Pradesh Himachal Pradesh 5 Shimla, Baddi, Mandi, Sundernagar, Dharamshala
Jammu & Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir 0
Kerala Kerala 18 Trivandrum, Kochi, Kozhikode, Alleppey, Aluva, Thrissur, Irinjalakuda, Punalur, Adoor, Thalassery, Koyilandy, Cherthala, Kannur, Kottayam, Malappuram, Manjeri, Parappanagadi, Munnar, Kothamangalam, Adimali
Kolkata Kolkata 1 Kolkata
Madhya Pradesh Madhya Pradesh 5 Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Ujjain
Chhattisgarh 8 Raipur, Durg & Bhilai, Bilaspur, Champa & Jhangir, Korba, Ambikapur, Raigarh, Rajnandgaon, Baloda Bazar, Dhamtari, Kanker, Jagdalpur, Bhatapara, Gwalior, Tilda, Chirmiri, Manendragarh, Baikunthapur, Ambikapur, Bhaiyathan,
Maharashtra and Goa Maharashtra 17 Ahmednagar, Akola, Amravati, Aurangabad, Bhusawal, Buldhana, Gondia, Jalgaon, Jalna, Sangli, Kolhapur,Ichalkaranji Nagpur, Nanded, Nashik, Parbhani, Pune, Raigad, Vasind, Solapur,
Goa 3 Ponda, Panaji, Margao
Punjab Punjab 4 Nawanshahr, Nabha, Ludhiana, Chandigarh
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu 1 Chennai
Uttar Pradesh (East) Eastern Uttar Pradesh 12 Allahabad, Azamgarh, Ballia, Jhansi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Sitapur, Faizabad, Raebareli, Gorakhpur, Rajesultanpur, Varanasi, Jaunpur
Uttar Pradesh (West) Western Uttar Pradesh 12 Dehradun, Haridwar, Rishikesh Kotdwara, Roorkee, Rudrapur, Haldwani, Nainital, Moradabad, Rampur, Gajraula, Joya, Pilkhuwa, Bilaspur, Govardhan, Vrindavan, Etah

Subscriber base[edit]

Total number of subscribers for Idea stood at 141.84 million at the end of August 2014.[11]

Idea leads all other telecom operators in India in the MNP (Mobile Number Portability) race, with a net gain of 1,031,380 subscribers as on 31 August 2011.[12]

Idea also leads all other competitors in having the most active subscriber base, scoring highly on the VLR statistics. Visitor Location Register (VLR) is basically a temporary database of the subscribers who have roamed into the particular area, which it serves. Each base station in the network is served by exactly one VLR; hence a subscriber cannot be present in more than one VLR at a time.[13]

Customer service[edit]

The company has its retail outlets under the "My Idea" banner. The company has also been the first to offer flexible tariff plans for prepaid customers[citation needed]. It also offers GPRS services in urban areas.


Idea competes with 11 other mobile operators throughout India. They are Airtel, Aircel, BSNL, MTNL, MTS, Reliance Communications, Tata DoCoMo, Videocon, Virgin Mobile, T24, and Vodafone.

Idea Rocks India[edit]

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy at Idea Rocks India, Bangalore (6 April 2012)

Conceptualised in 2005, Idea Rocks India is a music competition organized by Idea to find the best musical talent. Idea Rocks India is now in its 5th edition.[14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Idea Cellular – Cell Phone Services". Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  2. ^ "Consolidated Result". Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Mobile subscriber base now all time high at 97 crore". Retrieved 2015-02-08. 
  4. ^ "Axiata sees long-term gains from India price war". Dow Jones Newswires (Total Telecom). 14 October 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  5. ^ Pahwa, Nikhil (19 May 2010). "India’s 3G Auction Ends; Operator And Circle-Wise Results". MediaNama. 
  6. ^ "Idea Cellular launches 3G services from MP & Chhattisgarh". 28 March 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "3G Guide". Idea Celluar. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Idea cellular cuts 3G tariff by 70%". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "Idea launched 2 affordable Androids, rebrands ZTE Blade and Huawei Ideos X1 in India". 23 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Ghosh, Shauvik (14 July 2011). "Airtel, Vodafone, Idea sign 3G roaming pact: report". Livemint. 
  11. ^ "About Us". Economic Times. 
  12. ^ "MNP Data: Gainers & losers as on 31st Aug,11". 16 September 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Idea Cellular boasts of Highest Active Subscriber Base in April’11". 14 June 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Deka, Jim Ankan (6 April 2013). Shankar "Ehsaan and Loy took Bangalore by storm at Idea Rocks India". Demotix. 
  15. ^ "Youth wins Idea Rocks India Talent Hunt". The Indian Express. Express News Service. 2 April 2013. 

External links[edit]