RCom said to be in talks to buy SSTL

Dylan Bushell-Embling
19 May 2015

There are signs of consolidation in India's telecom industry, with Reliance Communications reportedly in talks to buy Sistema's Indian business SSTL, as Airtel explores a wireless broadband acquisition.

Reliance Communications owner Anil Ambani has met with Sistema owner Vladimir Evtushenkov to address a potential merge of their Indian wireless businesses, sources toldBloomberg.

Talks are still at an early stage and may not result in a deal, the sources said. Sistema declined to comment on the rumors, while RCom has denied the claims.

Sources separately told India's Economic Times that Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy out Augere Wireless Broadband India as part of plans to augment its 4G footprint.

The proposed acquisition is in part an attempt to prepare for the anticipated launch of 4G services by Reliance Jio Infocomm, the only company with a pan-India license to provide 4G, the report states.

Augere Wireless holds a 20 MHz block of 2,300-MHz 4G spectrum in one circle. The company is owned by a consortium consisting of France Telecom and a group of private equity firms.

Augere had intended to launch 4G services in late 2011, but called off this plan citing uncertain regulatory conditions, and has been seeking to sell its license ever since.

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