Airtel gets DoT nod for Telenor merger gets

Airtel gets DoT nod for Telenor merger gets”

While Idea and Vodafone are set to join hands in their joint bids to counter Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio, Airtel on Monday completed the acquisition of the Telenor, Indian subsidiary of Norwegian telecom company.

Bharti Airtel had received the approval of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), BSE, National Stock Exchange of India Limited (NSE) and Competition Commission of India for the proposed merger with Telenor (India) in June past year. The DoT approval clears the last hurdle in the deal.

Telenor announced its entry into India in 2008. The company was first impacted by the 2G spectrum scam and then the entry of Reliance Jio which triggered a consolidation spree in the telecom sector.

The telecom major said that all existing customers of Telenor India will now become a part of India's largest mobile network and will enjoy world-class services - high-speed data, voice, and content at affordable prices.

The approval has come within a week of Supreme Court order that quashed DoT petition seeking security deposit of around Rs 1,700 crore and directed it to approve the merger.

Airtel had announced on February 23, 2017 that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Telenor South Asia Investments.

As ordered by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal and the SC the approval was granted without Bharti having to pay Rs 1,500 crore towards the one-time spectrum charge (OTSC) levied by the DoT.

The notification said DoT has transferred all licences and liabilities of Telenor India to Bharti Airtel. According to the terms & agreement of the merger agreement, it is likely that Airtel will acquire Telenor's Indian business operations across states such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (West), Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh (East).

Gopal Vittal, Airtel's managing director and chief executive (India & South Asia) said, "The acquisition consolidates our market leadership, further strengthens our network portfolio in key markets and will add to shareholder value. We would like to thank all the concerned authorities and stakeholders for granting approvals to this transaction". "I would like to thank the Telenor India team for their relentless and unwavering efforts over the years", Telenor Group CEO Sigve Brekke said.

The subscribers will "continue to enjoy uninterrupted services with the Same SIM, Same Number, and Same Plan or Pack benefits", Airtel said.

"Airtel has already on boarded 700 employees from Telenor". Post-merger, Bharti will have a revenue market share of 32.3 per cent, subscriber market share of 29 per cent and its total spectrum holdings across all bands will increase to 979.45 MHz.

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