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Airtel gets 44 MHz 4G LTE Spectrum + 44 Mn Subscribers in Telenor Takeover

March 24th, 2017

Airtel will acquire Telenor India’s operations in all seven circles, wherein Telenor will transfer all of its assets and customers to Airtel. Interestingly, Airtel is not making any cash payment nor is it taking on Telenor’s Rs 18-19 bn debt (which Telenor will be repaying). Airtel will take over Telenor India’s spectrum liability to DoT (c. Rs. 16bn), and other operational contracts, including tower leases.

Airtel will get access to 43.4MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band (4G LTE capable). We note that at the end of 2016, Telenor India had a total of 44mn subscribers. Telenor India’s services will continue as normal until completion of the transaction, post which its customers will be transferred to Bharti’s network. We note that out of the 7 circles held by Telenor, in 4 of the circles (AP, Bihar, UP East and UP West), Bharti’s spectrum is contiguous with that of Telenor. This would allow Bharti to make use of carrier aggregation in these 4 circles and boost their 4G capacity.

Post-acquisition, Airtel’s revenue market share would increase from 33.4% to 35.3% (assuming no loss) and its spectrum market share would increase from 21.5% to 22.8%.

With this deal, Telenor will exit India after a very bitter experience of partnering with Unitech one of the worst companies globally as Unitech promoters are defaulters, cheaters and scamsters who are in the shady blackmoney real estate business.

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