Airtel granted partial stay on $1.2b spectrum charge demand

06 May 2019

India's Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has granted Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices on the 83 billion rupee ($1.19 billion) demand from the Department of Telecom as a condition of approving the merger between the two companies.

The tribunal has directed Indian authorities to clear the merger subject to a stay on around 70 billion rupees in one-time spectrum charges, India's Business Standardreported.

But Bharti Airtel has been asked to submit 50% of around 12.87 billion rupees in one-time spectrum charges related to a license in Chennai.

The tribunal case is still ongoing, with the next hearing scheduled for July.

Bharti Airtel arranged to acquire Tata Teleservices' consumer mobile business in 20 as part of the wave of consolidation that swept the sector after the entry into the market of Reliance Jio Infocomm with an aggressive price promotion.

The Department of Telecom approved the merger last month, but only on the condition that Airtel submit a bank guarantee covering the department's spectrum charge demands. Airtel subsequently appealed the demand for this guarantee with the tribunal.

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