Bharti Airtel to buy Aircel's 4G airwaves in 8 circles for Rs 3500 crore
Posted on: 09 Apr 2016 14:45:19
09 April 2016 Current Affairs: Bharti Airtel will buy Aircel's 4G spectrum in eight circles for Rs 3,500 crore through a trading deal, which would make India's No. 1 phone company a pan-India 4G player ahead of an expected clash for data consumers with newcomer Reliance Jio. The deal will help Aircel pare debt and may fulfil a condition for its merger with Reliance Communications, a person familiar with the matter said. Aircel needed to reduce some Rs 4,000 crore of its Rs 18,000-crore debt. Airtel will acquire Aircel's 4G airwaves in Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Bihar, J&K, West Bengal, Assam, North East, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The airwaves are valid till September 20, 2030. "Bharti Airtel and its subsidiary Bharti Hexacom have entered into definitive agreements with Aircel Ltd and its subsidiaries Dishnet Wireless Ltd and Aircel Cellular Ltd to acquire rights to use 20 MHz of 2300 band 4G spectrum for eight circles for an aggregate consideration of Rs 3,500 crore," India's largest telecom company said in a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange after the stock markets closed .ET was the first to report on the Airtel-Aircel deal talks in its edition on October 7, 2015. People familiar with the RCom-Aircel talks had subsequently said the two had decided to retain Aircel's 2300 MHz spectrum to be able to share and trade at a later stage. But, under pressure to cut debt, Aircel finally went ahead with the sale to Airtel. Lately, the Sunil Mittalfounded Bharti Airtel has been on a 4G spectrum expansion overdrive. After buying Qualcomm's airwaves in four circles, Airtel purchased Augere Wireless, which owned 4G airwaves four circles, Airtel purchased Augere Wireless, which owned 4G airwaves in the Chhattisgarh-Madhya Pradesh circle. Airtel has rolled out 4G in 15 circles, Vodafone India in five and No. 3 carrier, Idea Cellular, in 10 circles. Industry experts said it makes sense for Aircel to exit the 4G turf, which will be dominated by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Jio. RCom has entered into spectrum sharing and trading deals with Jio, which will be effective even if RCom's deal to merge its wireless business with Aircel fructifies. Maxis-owned Aircel paid Rs 3,438 crore to win airwaves in the 2300 MHz band in the 2010 spectrum auction.Aircel has barely met rollout obligations. Its 4G networks are functional in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir for enterprise customers only.
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