Bharti Airtel has acquired the 2×5 MHz spectrum available in the 1800MHz band that was previously owned by Videocon. The spectrum covers six service areas that include Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana. Airtel has paid Rs. 44,280 million for the acquisition.
The other regions covered by the newly-acquired spectrum are Gujarat, UP West and UP East. The spectrum license is valid until Dec. 18, 2032.
Earlier Idea and Videocon were in talks for the spectrum deal, but the deal was called off due to some uncertain reasons.
The acquisition of Videocon’s spectrum further boosts the spectrum portfolio of the nation’s largest phone operator. The newly-acquired spectrum paves way for Airtel to expand and enhance the quality of its services in the covered regions.
Airtel revealed its acquisition of Videocon’s spectrum through a securities filing with the BSE. It further disclosed in the filing that the spectrum was allocated to Videocon on April 5, 2013.
According to Airtel, the closing of the transaction with Videocon is subject to satisfaction of certain standard conditions. Those conditions include the guidelines of spectrum trading. It is normal for a spectrum deal to meet such conditions, which means that Airtel is not expecting major surprises in the course of closing the transaction.
Airtels takes 100% of Augere Wireless
Airtel’s move to grab the spectrum that was originally allotted to Videocon follows the 100% buyout of Augere Wireless early this year. The company had initially acquired 74% of Augere Wireless and a few days later returned to grab the rest 26% that it didn’t already own.
Augere Wireless owned 4G spectrum that covered Madhya Pradesh. Augere Wireless had acquired the 20 Mhz of spectrum available in 2300 Mhz band for Rs124.66 croreback in 2010. It hadn’t put it into use by the time of its sale. Airtel reportedly paid Rs 150 crore for the 4G spectrum.
There is no doubt this string of spectrum acquisitions reveals Airtel’s thirst for more growth in the domestic market even as it expands abroad.