Sunil Mittal, chairman of India's biggest telecom operator Bharti Airtel Ltd, said that the launch of fourth-generation (4G) services by Reliance Jio Infocomm, Mukesh Ambani's company, will "shake up" the domestic telecom sector.
Smaller operators will be compelled to consolidate with the entry of Reliance Jio, said Mittal.
Reliance Jio, a telecom arm of Ambani-led Reliance Industries, recently delayed the launch of its 4G services to next fiscal year. Earlier, it had planned to roll out services by December this year.
"Whatever Reliance does, it does on a scale that is always big and impactful," Bloomberg quoted Mittal as saying.
"That is exactly what Reliance is planning to do in the telecommunication sector. From what we hear the launch will be imminent in the coming 30, 60, 90 days. India has 10, 11 operators. We should have about four or five at the very most," he said.
Mittal said that Airtel is increasing its investment and looking to buy spectrum from other operators.
Bharti Airtel will spend $3.5 billion in the current fiscal year, nearly $750 million more than it invests usually, to boost its 4G plans, Mittal said.
Reliance Jio is expected to come out with "competitive pricing" to gain customers at a faster pace, which could pressurise the profit margins of other players like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone India.
Ambani's Jio is reportedly aiming to acquire 100 million subscribers in the first year of its launch and the company has already spent Rs 100,000 crore in the venture.
Some analysts said that RJio's target of acquiring 100-million subscribers is "achievable", taking into account its vast distribution network. It has access to 1,000 company-controlled outlets and one million distributors for recharge vouchers.
In July, a report by The Economic Times had said that Jio was planning to offer 4G data plans at one-third price as that of the current data plans offered by other players such as Airtel, Idea and Vodafone.