Vodafone India, formerly Vodafone Essar and Hutchison Essar, is the second largest mobile network operator in India after Airtel. It is based in Mumbai, Maharashtra and which operates nationally. It has approximately 140.84 million customers as of November 2011.
On July 2011, Vodafone Group agreed terms for the buy-out of its partner Essar from its Indian mobile phone business. The UK firm paid $5.46 billion to its Indian counterpart to take Essar out of its 33% stake in the Indian subsidiary. It will leave Vodafone owning 74% of the Indian business, while the other 26% will be owned by Indian investors, in compliance with Indian law. On 11 February, 2007, Vodafone agreed to acquire the controlling interest of 67% held by Li Ka Shing Holdings in Hutch-Essar for US$11.1 billion, pipping Reliance Communications, Hinduja Group, and Essar Group, which is the owner of the remaining 33%. The whole company was valued at USD 18.8 billion. The transaction closed on 8 May, 2007. It offers both prepaid and postpaid GSM cellular phone coverage throughout India with good presence in the metros.
Vodafone India provides 2.75G services based on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz digital GSM technology. Vodafone India launched 3G services in the country in the January-March quarter of 2011 and plans to spend up to $500 million within two years on its 3G networks.