Airtel to Buy Aircel's 4G Waves

Bharti Airtel will buy Aircel's 4G spectrum in eight circles for Rs.3,500 crore, which would make India's No. 1 phone company a pan India 4G player ahead of an expected clash for data consumers with newcomer Reliance Jio.
The deal will help Aircel pare debt and may fulfil a condition for its merger with Reliance Communications. Airtel will acquire Aircel's 4G airwaves in Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Bihar, J&K, West Bengal, Assam, North East, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. The airwaves are valid till September 20, 2030.
People familiar with the RCom-Aircel talks had said the two had decided to retain Aircel's 2300 MHz spectrum to be able to share and trade at a later stage. But, under pressure to cut debt, Aircel finally went ahead with the sale to Airtel. Lately , the Sunil Mittal-founded Bharti Airtel has been on a 4G spectrum expansion overdrive. After buying Qualcomm's airwaves in four circles, Airtel purchased Augere Wireless, which owned 4G airwaves in the Chhattisgarh-Madhya Pradesh circle.
Both deals netted Airtel airwaves in the 2300 MHz band and raised its holdings in that particular band. Last month, Airtel bought Videocon Telecom's 4G air waves in the 1800 MHz band for Rs.4,428 crore. Airtel was the first to start 4G services, on the 2300 MHz band, in 2012. It stepped up the rollout in the past few months, expanding to more than 350 cities and towns, anticipating competition from Jio, which is expected to soft launch its 4G services shortly and start wider commercial operations by December.
Airtel has rolled out 4G in 15 circles, Vodafone India in five and No. 3 carrier, Idea Cellular, in 10 circles.

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