Bharti Airtel, India’s leading telecom operator has managed to get approval from the Competition Commission for its spectrum deals with Videocon and Aircel that were announced last year.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) took Twitter to announce approvals for both the deals. The regulator, in a tweet, said it has cleared Bharti Airtel’s acquisition of Aircel’s “right to use of spectrum in 2300 MHz band”. In another tweet, the regulator said that it “approves acquisition by Airtel of Videocon’s Right to Use of Spectrum in 1800 MHz band”.
Bharti Airtel had last year entered into the Rs 3,500 crore deal to acquire Aircel’s 4G spectrum in eight telecom circles in Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, North East, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. The Sunil Mittal-led telco had in March 2016, inked Rs 4,428 crore deal with Videocon Telecommunications Ltd (VTL) to acquire the latter’s spectrum in six circles — Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, UP (East) and UP (West).
According to norms, transactions beyond a certain threshold require approval from the CCI.
Bharti Airtel has already launched 4G services in all the 22 telecom circles but a few cities and towns in the circles are yet to get high-speed service. The telecom operator 4G footprint will cover all the towns and cities by end of 2017 financial year as the company upgrades its network in India.
Bharti Airtel reportedly plans to launch commercial voice over LTE or VoLTE services in the next quarter. It is currently undergoing trials for voice over LTE (VoLTE) in some cities including Mumbai.
Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal previously said that VoLTE would be very relevant in the key cities, in the next 12 months to 18 months.