Bharti pays US$662mn for Videocon Spectrum

New Delhi / Bloomberg

Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s largest wireless operator by subscribers, said it will buy airwaves from Videocon Telecommunications Ltd. for six regions for 44.3 billion rupees ($662 million) to increase its network coverage.
The carrier will use the 1,800 megahertz band spectrum for services in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East and West as well as Gujarat regions under a license that expires in 2032, according to an exchange filing Thursday.
Billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Idea Cellular Ltd. on Wednesday evening called off its November pact to buy Videocon airwaves for two areas. Carriers are racing to load up on spectrum before India’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani, launches his fourth-generation wireless services later this year. Companies are seeking consolidation in a market where as many as 12 operators fight for over a billion subscribers, driving down tariffs and hurting profits.
Idea, which wanted to buy just the Gujarat and western Uttar Pradesh regions for 33.1 billion rupees in 1,800 megahertz band, called off the deal on March 16, without citing any reasons.

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