India’s largest service provider, Bharti Airtel has secured required approvals for closing 2300Mhz spectrum acquisition deal in six circles of Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam and North East. However the telco is yet to get clearance from the Indian Telecom Ministry for the other two circles of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
Airtel had acquired 20Mhz of 2300Mhz spectrum in eight circles in April this year for a total of INR35 billion, which equip the service provider to become a pan-India 4G operator. The company is gearing up to face stiff competition from Reliance Jio, which has recently launched 4G services. While Reliance Jio has pan-India 2300Mhz spectrum and owns spectrum in 800Mhz and 1800Mhz as well, Bharti Airtel did not earlier own pan-India 4G spectrum. This has changed with the recent acquisition of Videocon and Aircel’s acquisition.
Indian telecom industry is going through consolidation. A year back there were an average of 10 service providers per circle or service. However, the entry of Reliance jio and new technology means that smaller telcos are finding it tough to survive.