MUMBAI -- The fierce competition and price war in India's telecommunications sector has claimed another victim. Malaysia-based Maxis Communications' India unit Aircel said on Feb. 28 that it had filed for bankruptcy in the local courts. The move by the last surviving small telecom operator signals that the end may near for industry consolidation triggered by the most recent entrant, Reliance Jio Infocomm, owned by the country's wealthiest man, Mukesh Ambani.
Aircel's insolvency proceedings follow a round of mergers and fire sales by the bigger players. Reliance Communications sold its consumer business assets to Reliance Jio. The consumer mobile businesses of Tata Teleservices and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra merged into Bharti Airtel. A merger of giants Idea Cellular and Vodafone India is pending.