Bharti Airtel has acquired Aircel’s 4G spectrum in eight circles for Rs. 3,500 crore in a deal that will enable the telecom operator to offer 4G services in all 22 circles of the country. The deal comes ahead of the mega launch of telecom services by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, which until now was the only player with pan-Indian 4G airwaves. Airtel has done three acquisitions over the last two-three years to pitch itself against the Ambani juggernaut.
For Aircel, this signals a possible consolidation with the Reliance Communication-MTS combine. Talks between Aircel and RCom for a possible merger have been interrupted due to high debt on the books of both the operators. While Aircel can now retire some of its Rs. 20,000 crore debt, RCom has been trying to sell its tower assets to pare its debt.