Airtel to buy Tikona's 4G business

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India's largest telecom service provider Bharti Airtel has announced that it will acquire Tikona's 4G Business including the Broadband Wireless Access ("BWA") spectrum and 350 sites, in five telecom circles.

Airtel to buy Tikona's 4G business

Tikona currently has 20 MHz spectrum in the 2300 MHz band in Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh circles.

"Bharti Airtel shall acquire the 4G business of Tikona" for "approximately Rs. 1,600 crore for the transaction", the company said in a regulatory filing.

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Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel, said, "Airtel's continued focus on strengthening its 4G capabilities across multiple spectrum bands will be complemented with the BWA spectrum acquisition from Tikona. We believe that combining our capacities in TD-LTE and FD-LTE will further bolster our network, and help us provide unmatched high-speed wireless broadband experience to our customers. We remain committed to our vision of leading India's digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust spectrum portfolio spread across multiple bands."

According to Rishi Tejpal, Principal Research Analyst, Gartner's views on the same," Airtel's acquisition of Tikona's 4G spectrum fills the gap that it had in the TDD-LTE band mainly in UP East, UP West and Rajasthan circles. With this acquisition, Airtel will have nationwide TDD-LTE spectrum.

He said, "after the Vodafone-Idea deal, this is another step towards consolidation in the Indian telecom sector. Overall things are heading in the right direction for a healthy competition."

"The acquisition of the 4G business in Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Himachal Pradesh will be undertaken by Airtel, while in the Rajasthan circle, it will be accomplished through Airtel's subsidiary Bharti Hexacom Limited," Airtel said in a statement.

Post completion of the deal, Airtel will have 30 MHz in the 2300 MHz band in 13 circles giving it advantage to handle the surging data demand.

However, the acquisition is subject to requisite regulatory approvals.

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