Transaction will see Bharti acquire full control of Telenor India and is expected to close within the next year.
Indian telecommunications provider Bharti Airtel agreed to acquire full control of Telenor’s Indian operation. The transaction is expected to allow Bharti Airtel to strengthen its competitive position in seven key telecom circles.
Under terms of the deal, Airtel, which currently counts more than 269 million customers, will take over Telenor India’s spectrum, licenses and operations, including its employees and customer base of around 44 million connections. Airtel also said it will take over outstanding spectrum payments and other operational contracts, including tower lease.
Telenor said its operations and services will continue as normal until the deal closes. The carrier currently offers service across the circles of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujurat, Uttar Pradesh East, and UP West. It also owns spectrum in Assam.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals from the Department of Telecommunications and the Competition Commission of India, but is expected to close within 12 months.
“The agreement underlines our commitment to lead India’s digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust spectrum portfolio spread across multiple bands,” said Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO for India and South Asia at Bharti Airtel.
“We believe this agreement is in the best interest of our customers, employees and Telenor Group,” added Telenor Group CEO Sigve Brekke. “Finding a long-term solution to our India business has been a priority for us, and we are pleased with our agreement with Airtel. The decision to exit India has not been taken lightly. After thorough consideration it is our view that the significant investments needed to secure Telenor India’s future business on a standalone basis would not have given an acceptable level of return.”
Bharti Airtel currently provides telecoms services in 17 countries across Asia and Africa. In India, the operator’s portfolio includes 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high-speed broadband and enterprise services.