Bharti Airtel, India’s leading telecom carrier by users said that it completed the acquisition of Aircel’s 4G airwaves in the Orissa circle. Airtel has now completed transaction in seven out of eight circles, including Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, North East and Odisha.
The spectrum trading deal related to the Andhra Pradesh circle is yet to complete. Airtel, in a regulatory filing, said, “The proposed transaction has been successfully concluded for the Odisha circle following the receipt of all necessary approvals and satisfying all the conditions (including conditions stated in the Spectrum Trading Guidelines).
Reports said that Airtel had to surrender 1.2 MHz spectrum, worth around Rs 38 crore, in the Odisha circle for approval as it breached the spectrum limit after taking into account Aircel’s spectrum. Airtel, in April this year, entered into an agreement with Aircel to acquire rights to use 4G spectrum of Aircel in eight telecom circles for Rs 3,500 crore through a trading deal. The 4G spectrum is valid till September 20, 2030.
The Aircel deal would make Airtel a pan-India 4G player right ahead of Mukesh Ambani controlled Reliance Jio’s launch, which is likely soon. For Aircel, the deal would help it pare its debt and fulfil one of the conditions for its merger with Reliance Communications. Reports suggest that Aircel needed to reduce close to Rs 4,000 crore of its Rs 18,000-crore debt.
Aircel is currently in advanced talks with Anil Ambani-owned RCom for a merger of their wireless operations to create a separate wireless entity. RCom, on the other hand, is in process of completing its merger with Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited.