Tata Teleservices said on Thursday that the DoT has approved the merger of their consumer mobile business with Bharti Airtel. The government body’s approval comes two years after the merger was formally announced. The telecom department in its letter dated February 6 asked the competent authority in DoT to take on record the demerger of consumer mobile business of the company into Bharti Airtel Limited (BAL), said Tata Teleservices in a regulatory filing.
DoT Finally Approves the Merger of Airtel and Tata Teleservices
The DoT’s approval comes after the Supreme Court refused to stay the interim order of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal that asked the government to clear the deal. The TDSAT on May 2, 2019, granted relief to Airtel on the government’s demand for Rs 8000 crore for one-time spectrum charges and instead asked the government to take merger on record. After the TDSAT order, Airtel and Tata went ahead with the merger and filed in the Registrar of Companies, which took the deal on record.
Bharti Airtel on July 1 had said consumer mobile business of Tata group had become their part. The telecom department, however, refused to take on record the merger until Airtel submitted a bank guarantee of Rs 7000 crore and made an immediate payment of Rs 1,287.97 crore.
The Telecom body then moved the apex court challenging the TDSAT order. Though the matter is sub-judice, the Supreme Court refused to stay the interim order and directed the government to approve the alliance.
Airtel 4G Spectrum and Overall Subscriber Base Gets a Boost
With the deal, Airtel absorbs Tata group’s consumer mobile operations in 19 circles, of which 17 come from under Tata Teleservices and two from the Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd. The deal will give Airtel an additional 178.5 MHz of spectrum in three bands associated with 4G network.
A few days ago, Bharti Airtel reported that its subscriber base now stands at 308 million and the full merger completion with Tata Teleservices will only increase the telco's overall user base. Bharti Airtel could likely become India' second-largest telecom operator yet again with this merger as Vodafone Idea Limited is constantly losing existing subscribers.