Monday, 23 October, 2017

Tata and Bharti to Combine Consumer Telecom Business

Bharti Airtel will be absorbing Tata Tele’s Consumer Mobile Business’s operations across the country in 19 circles Tata Teleservices to merge consumer mobile business with Bharti Airtel
Kristine Garrett | 12 October, 2017, 18:14

"This is a significant development towards further consolidation in the Indian mobile industry and reinforces our commitment to lead India's digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust technology and solid spectrum portfolio".

Bharti Airtel will acquire Tata Group's loss-making mobile telephony business, nearly for free, boosting its spectrum holding and raising subscriber base while saving the Tatas from the prospect of having to shut down the struggling unit.

Airtel is set to loose its numero-uno position in the country's telecom space that it has been holding for more than one and half decade with the Vodafone-Idea merger.

According to the deal, Bharti Airtel will also overtake a part of Tata Teleservices's spectrum liability, which is expected to be worth INR 10,000 crores.

Additional spectrum in 1800, 2100, and 850 MHz bands will be added to Airtel's pool and further help the operator strengthen its 4G network.

Bharti Airtel will also assume a small portion of the unpaid spectrum liability of Tata.

"The proposed merger will include transfer of all the customers and assets of Tata CMB to Bharti Airtel, further augmenting Bharti Airtel?s overall customer base and network", the statement said.

The Bharti Board, which met on Thursday afternoon, has approved this transaction. The latest announcement will see over 4 crore Tata customers join Bharti Airtel.

"We believe today's agreement is the best and most optimal solution for the Tata Group and its stakeholders", said N Chandrasekaran, chairman, Tata Sons. Finding the right home for our longstanding customers and our employees has been the priority for us.

The statement also said Tata is in the initial stages of exploring a combination of its enterprise business with Tata Communications Ltd and its retail fixed-line and broadband business with satellite TV arm Tata Sky.

As part of the deal, Tata's mobile customers in 19 service areas will move to Bharti Airtel along with airwaves that Tata had purchased.

A Bharti Airtel office building is pictured in Gurugram, previously known as Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, India April 21, 2016.

Goldman Sachs (India) Securities Private Limited is financial adviser to Tata.

"We have evaluated multiple options and are pleased to have this agreement with Bharti", he added.

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