Airtel expands 4G network ahead of Jio launch, inks Rs 3,500 cr spectrum deal with Aircel
Mumbai: With a view to significantly expand its network ahead of Reliance Jio’s much touted launch, Bharti Airtel today announced a Rs 3,500 crore deal with Aircel to acquire 20 MHz of its 4G spectrum in eight circles including Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, the North-East, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
Bharti Airtel said in a filing to stock exchanges that the company and its subsidiary Bharti Hexacom Ltd on Thursday entered into a definitive agreement with Aircel Ltd and its subsidiaries Dishnet Wireless Ltd and Aircel Cellular Ltd to acquire rights to use 20 megahertz (MHz) 2300 band 4G TD spectrum in the eight circles.
The spectrum was allotted to Aircel and Dishnet by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and is valid up to September 20, 2030.
With the high cost of spectrum, liberalisation in rules governing spectrum trading has paved way for increased competition among 11 telecom operators, ultimately leading to lower prices for services.
The booming market for smartphones is also driving telecom operators to expand their footprint in the 3G and 4G market.
Last month, Bharti had agreed to pay Rs 4,428 crore to Videocon Telecommunications for more mobile spectrum.
India has over 1 billion mobile users, though only a third of these subscribers currently use mobile Internet services. IAMAI expects the number to reach 371 million by June this year.