Airtel cleared to buy 4G spectrum from Aircel

12 Jul 2016

India's Bharti Airtel has received approval for its 35 billion rupee ($521.2 million) acquisition of 4G spectrum from Maxis-owned Aircel.

The Telecom Ministry has agreed to allow Bharti Airtel to acquire 20 MHz of 2300-MHz spectrum in eight of India's 22 telecoms circles, the Press Trust of Indiareported.

Airtel announced in a stock exhange filing that it has now concluded the acquisition in six of the eight circles - Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam and North End.

The operator announced it will issue a new market update once the transactions are closed for the remaining two circles of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

Airtel was required to surrender 1.2 MHz of spectrum in one circle as the acquisition would have left the company is breach of regulations limiting operators from holding more than 25% of the total spectrum allocated in a single circle, sources told Press Trust of India.

But Maxis, which owns 74% of Aircel, is facing legal action from an activist lawyer over proposed deals with Airtel and RCom. The lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, had called for the spectrum.

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