Bharti Airtel acquires Telenor India to counter Reliance Jio and Vodafone-Idea merger
Amid some major shifts in the telecom sector, Bharti Airtel has announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Telenor South Asia Investments to acquire Telenor India Communications. The latest move will expand the presence of the Delhi-based telco that already leads the domestic telecom sector by subscriber base and has emerged as a competitive move against Reliance Jio and the recent Vodafone-Idea Cellular merger.
Financial terms of the deal weren’t divulged. However, Bharti Airtel, in its filing with Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), reveals that the acquisition will include the transfer of all the assets and customers owned by Telenor India. The operator is also set to acquire Telenor India’s operations running in seven circles, namely Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East and West) and Assam.
“The customers of Telenor India will now be able to enjoy India’s widest and fastest voice and data network, and a range of Airtel’s world-class products and services,” Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel.
Airtel is planning to strengthen its spectrum footprint in all the circles of Telenor India through adding 43.4MHz in the 1800MHz band. Moreover, Telenor has 52.2 million users in the country that will now join the existing subscriber base of Airtel, which presently holds over 269.40 subscribers.
“We believe today’s agreement is in the best interest of our customers, employees and Telenor Group. Finding a long-term solution to our India business has been a priority for us, and we are pleased with our agreement,” said Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group.
Outstanding payments and contracts to be taken over
As per the agreement, Airtel will take over Telenor India following the receipt of all necessary approvals. The acquisition will include outstanding spectrum payments and other operational contracts of Telenor India.
Debuted in India back in 2008, Telenor India generated NOK 6 billion of revenues in 2016. It operates services commercially in six telecom circles including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, UP East and UP West and has spectrum in Assam.