Office workers look at mobile phone during their lunch break in the Nariman Point area of Mumbai (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Bharti Airtel Gets Shareholders’ Nod For Telenor Merger

India’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel got shareholders’ approval on Thursday for merging Telenor India with itself, a deal which will boost its spectrum footprint.

The scheme of amalgamation was passed with an overwhelming 99.8 percent majority, Airtel said in a stock exchange filing. The two companies, in February 2017, had signed an agreement for merger under which the Sunil Mittal-led operator was to acquire Telenor India's operations in seven circles – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam.

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.

The circles represent a high population concentration and therefore, offer a high potential for growth, according to Airtel. The proposed acquisition would include transfer of all of Telenor India's assets and customers, augmenting Airtel's overall customer base and network, the company had earlier said.

In June, the company had got approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the stock exchanges for the deal.