DoT approves Bharti Airtel's aquisition of Telenor India

Department of Telecommunications approves Bharti Airtel Telenor merger

The department of telecommunication has given its approval to Airtel's acquisition of Telenor India.

DoT was asking Airtel to submit a bank guarantee as one-time charges for spectrum before its approval to buy Telenor's India operations.

The telecom major said that all existing customers of Telenor India will now become a part of India's largest mobile network and will enjoy world-class services - high-speed data, voice, and content at affordable prices.

After the deal's approval, Airtel will formally buy Telenor India in a no-cash deal and take over its spectrum payment dues of about Rs 16.5 billion. All the customers will be transitioned seamlessly to the Airtel network and will continue to enjoy uninterrupted services with the Same SIM, Same Number, and Same Plan/Pack benefits, said Bharti Airtel on Monday in a stock market filing.

This also marks the exit of Telenor from India which had a tumultuous journey since its entry in the country's telecom space in 2008. The acquisition consolidates our market leadership and further strengthens our network portfolio in key markets and will add to shareholder value. According to the terms & agreement of the merger agreement, it is likely that Airtel will acquire Telenor's Indian business operations across states such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (West), Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh (East). "I would like to thank the Telenor India team for their relentless and unwavering efforts over the years", Telenor Group CEO Sigve Brekke said. The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal dismissed the condition, although Airtel has paid the requested INR2 billion for Telenor's spectrum. As a part of the agreement, Airtel will also take over outstanding spectrum payments and other contractual commitments such as tower lease agreements.

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Airtel will absorb Telenor India's 38 million mobile connections, bringing its total up to roughly 340 million and increasing its market share by 3% to a total of 28%.

Both the companies had entered in to agreement for the deal in February 2017.

The merger will bolster Airtels spectrum footprint in these seven circles, with the addition of 43.4 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz band. Airtel is aiming to compete more effectively against the newcomer and its established rivals, including Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which are now in the process of merging to create a new market leader.

Further, Reliance Jio has agreed to buy wireless assets of Reliance Communications while Aircel has filed for bankruptcy.

The deal will help Airtel telecom widen its lead over Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio.

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