Airtel gets DoT nod for Telenor merger gets

Sunil Mittal of Airtel and Sigve Brekke of Telenor

Sunil Mittal of Airtel and Sigve Brekke of Telenor

A DoT notification said with approval of the merger, all assets and liabilities pertaining to Telenor India stand transferred to Bharti Airtel.

The department of telecommunication has given its approval to Airtel's acquisition of Telenor India.

Incidentally, DoT's notification claims that the decision to approve the merger between the two telecom giants has been taken in compliance with the orders, decisions & judgements of the Supreme Court and Bombay High Court as well as the tribunals. This deposit would cover unpaid spectrum fees from Telenor and a one-time spectrum charge on Airtel for the spectrum that the operator will acquire through the merger without an auction.

The key officials of Airtel have claimed that these regions encompass a potentially large customer base and consequently indicate a high sales & growth potential for the firm.

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Telenor announced its entry into India in 2008. "We would like to thank all the concerned authorities and stakeholders for granting approvals to this transaction". We are pleased with our agreement with Airtel and finding a long-term solution to our India business has been a priority for us. "To our customers, I would like to thank you for your loyalty and trust in our services", says Sigve Brekke, Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Group. This is a win-win situation for Airtel on spectrum holdings and customers acquisition, as it takes on high competition prevailing in the sector. "The plan for the remaining employees will be communicated in due course", Airtel spokesperson said. Post-merger, Bharti will have a revenue market share of 32.3 per cent, subscriber market share of 29 per cent and its total spectrum holdings across all bands will increase to 979.45 MHz. As a part of the agreement, Airtel will also take over outstanding spectrum payments and other contractual commitments such as tower lease agreements. The latter will get 43.4 MHz of spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band from Telenor. The agreement was signed a year ago in February.

The Vodafone-Idea merger will be approved soon by DoT.

The mobile subscriber base of resultant entity will reach around 334 million and Jio, which commenced operation in September 2016, had around 177 million subscribers, according to data released by telecom regulator Trai for the month of February 2018. Airtel is aiming to compete more effectively against the newcomer and its established rivals, including Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, which are now in the process of merging to create a new market leader.

The entry of Reliance Jio has triggered consolidation in the telecom industry forcing small and marginal players to exit the hyper-competitive market.

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