To further strengthen its position as India’s largest telecom provider, Bharti Airtel will acquire Norwegian telecom operator’s India business. The move will fortify Airtel’s numero uno position in terms of revenue as well as subscriber space in the blazing hot Indian telecommunications market.
The acquisition comes close on the heels of Vodafone and Idea trying to close a merger deal and snatch the title of being India’s largest telecom company from Airtel. Currently, Telenor India has operations in seven circles – Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East & West) and Assam. These densely populated regions offer scope for future growth in the 4G market. The acquisition will boost Bharti Airtel’s spectrum footprint with the addition of 43.4 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz band.
Speaking to Reuters, a Telenor spokesman revealed that the deal will not involve any cash and instead, Airtel will take on Telenor unit’s commitments to pay for licences and phone towers. The news of acquisition has resulted in Airtel’s stock price surging by 11% to touch a 52-week high of Rs.400.65.
This interesting development comes in the background of new player Reliance Jio managing to acquire 100 million subscribers within 170 days of launching services, and has announced a new ‘Prime‘ plan, under which customers will be offered unlimited data at a monthly cost of Rs.303. In the coming days, we expect the mobile space in India to become increasingly competitive, where operators will offer a lot more for a lot less. However, in the end, it will be the consumer who will benefit from this price war.