Reliance Communications said that it expects to shortly sign a binding merger deal with the founders of Aircel, for combining the wireless businesses of both the telecom companies.
“RCOM and Maxis Communications Berhad (MCB) and Sindya Securities and Investments Private Limited (Sindya), the shareholders of Aircel Limited expect to sign binding definitive documentation and announce the proposed Transaction for the combination of the Indian wireless business of RCOM and Aircel very shortly,” the company said in an official statement.
Aircel is 74% owned by Malaysia's Maxis Communications Berhad (MCB) with the rest with Sindya Securities and Investments Pvt. Ltd. Both the parties had earlier extended the period by a further 30 days to June 22 following "substantial” progress in their discussions. The Anil Ambani-run telco, India's fourth-largest carrier, had been in merger talks with Maxis Communications Berhad and Sindya Securities and Investments Pvt. Ltd., the promoters of Aircel, for a 90-day period since December 22.
According to media reports, if the deal goes through, RCom and Aircel's promoters will hold 50% each in a merged entity, which would be renamed and could emerge as India's No. 3 carrier by users, ahead of Idea Cellular and trailing market leader Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India.
RCom is currently merging Sistema Shyam Teleservices' wireless business with itself. Earlier, Business Standard reported that RCom received the legal intercept and monitoring (LIM) approval from the department of telecom in 12 out of 22 circles, which will allow the telco to offer 4G services to its CDMA subscribers, who have a 4G SIM.
Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Punjab, east and west Uttar Pradesh, Mumbai, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar are the first 12 circles. The report said that RCom had not been able to activate the service due to the pending LIM approval. The telecom operator may soon get the requisite approvals for the remaining six circles shortly.