Bharti Airtel Reportedly Submits Rs 644 Crore Bank Guarantee to TDSAT for Tata Teleservices Merger

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Telecom operator Bharti Airtel is learnt to have submitted a bank guarantee of Rs 644 crore in telecom tribunal TDSAT to complete the merger of Tata Teleservices' consumer business with the company. The TDSAT on May 2 granted a partial stay on a Rs 8,300-crore demand raised by the telecom department from Bharti Airtel for approving its merger with the consumer business of Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL). "Bharti Airtel has submitted a bank guarantee of around Rs 644 crore in TDSAT to complete merger of Tata Teleservices' (consumer business) with the company as was directed by the tribunal," a source told PTI.

An e-mail query sent to Bharti Airtel elicited no reply.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) directed "the concerned authorities of the Union of India to take the merger of two companies and licence on record", subject to stay on one-time spectrum charges (OTSC) demand of around Rs 7,000 crore.

The tribunal also asked Airtel to submit 50% payment of Rs 1,287.97 crore demand raised by the Department of Telecom (DoT) as OTSC for Chennai circle licence extension from November 30, 2014, to September 27, 2021.

It directed Airtel on May 2 to submit around Rs 640 crore for Chennai licence within four weeks.

The department had earlier asked Airtel to submit a bank guarantee of around Rs 7,000 crore and immediate payment of Rs 1,287.97 crore before it takes merger of Airtel and Tata's consumer mobile business (CMB) on record.

As part of the proposed agreement, Airtel will absorb Tata CMB operations in 19 telecom circles (17 under TTSL and two under Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd). It also agreed to take over a small portion of the unpaid spectrum liability of Tata Teleservices.

The merger will bolster Airtel's spectrum pool with significant additional 178.5 MHz spectrum in 1800, 2100 and 850 MHz bands, widely used for 4G.

The proposed merger will include the transfer of all the customers and assets of Tata CMB to Airtel.

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