NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel will pay Rs 3,500 crore to acquire rights to use 4G spectrum of Aircel in eight telecom circles, amidst the numerous legal cases that the latter is facing in the country.
The Enforcement Directorate is still in the process of probing the money trail involving a Mauritius-based firm and two private firms in the Aircel- Maxis deal in which the agency has chargesheeted former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran. Besides him, the ED had also named his brother Kalanithi Maran, his wife Kavery Kalanithi, K Shanmugam, Managing Director of SAFL, and two firms — SDTPL and SAFL — as accused in the case filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Airtel has stuck a second deal in less than a month, following the deal with Videocon Telecommunication.
The deal with Aircel will provide it a pan-India 4G spectrum to offer high speed mobile data services to its consumers. Aircel has 4G spectrum in Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Bihar, J&K, West Bengal, Assam, the North-East, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha for which they paid Rs 3,438 crore to the government after the conclusion of the spectrum auction in 2012. Spectrum held by Aircel and Dishnet is valid up to September 20, 2030.
Airtel had paid Rs 4,428 crore to Videocon Telecom for 1,800 MHz band spectrum in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East and West as well as Gujarat. The licence is valid till 2032.
In a filing to BSE, on Friday, the company said Airtel and its arm Bharti Hexacom entered into a definitive agreement with Aircel and its subsidiaries Dishnet Wireless and Aircel Cellular to acquire rights to use 20 MHz in 2300 band 4G TD spectrum in 8 circles.
The move is crucial for Airtel that expects strong competition from Reliance Jio and Reliance Communications, who have signed a spectrum sharing and trading pact across 17 wireless areas in the 800 MHz band.