Telecom major Bharti Airtel Ltd. today completed the merger of the Indian arm of Telenor Communications with itself.
As part of the deal, the Sunil Bharti Mittal-led company will also take over the outstanding spectrum payments and other contractual commitments such as tower lease agreements of Telenor India, it said in a statement. Airtel will now begin integrating Telenor India’s operations across seven circles - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam, the statement added.
The deal will enable Airtel to further bolster its spectrum footprint in these seven circles, with the addition of 43.4 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz band – widely known as 2G spectrum, but it is now being used for 4G services as well.
This merger comes at time when a tariff war unleashed by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. has triggered a consolidation in the world’s second largest telecom market, forcing incumbents to either match its prices or exit the market completely.
Following the deal, Airtel’s total mobile customer base in India now stands at over 330 million. “The acquisition consolidates our market leadership, further strengthens our network portfolio in key markets and will add to shareholder value,” Gopal Vittal, managing director and chief executive office-India and South Asia of Bharti Airtel, said in the statement.
The two companies, in February 2017, had signed an agreement under which the Sunil Mittal-led operator was to acquire Telenor India's operations in seven circles. Bharti Airtel received shareholders’ approval for the merger in September last year.