Tatas to sell consumer mobile business to Airtel for 'free'

Bharti Airtel will also have an indefeasible right to use for part of the existing fiber network of Tata

Bharti Airtel will also have an indefeasible right to use for part of the existing fiber network of Tata

Idea has 191 million users as of August. The new entrant Reliance Jio has fast grown to 130 million customers since its launch past year.

Tata Tele will add 40 million users to Bharti Airtel's network, keeping the Sunil Mittal-company firmly in the race to protect its market leader status, even as its next biggest rivals Vodafone India and Idea Cellular threaten to topple it from the top spot by merging their businesses.

Only in March, the Tata group and Japan's NTT Docomo finally resolved a row over a foundering telecom venture.

Earlier in the week, Chandrasekaran had said that Tata Teleservices was in a really "bad shape" and in a debt of Rs 31,000 crore. The two companies made it clear that all the past liabilities and dues would be borne by the Tatas.

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Earlier this year, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular agreed to merge their operations to create the country's largest telecom operator worth of more than Dollars 23 billion (roughly Rs 1,51,153 crore) with 35 per cent market share.

Of course, the 5,500-odd employees of Tata Teleservices would not lose their job, a risk they would have faced in case of a closure. Through the merger the employees can be absorbed in the merged entity. He further said that on completion, the proposed acquisition will undergo seamless integration; both on the customer as well as the network side, and further strengthen our market position in several key circles.

The Boards of Bharti Airtel, Tata Sons, TTSL and TTML have approved the transaction.

The merger of Tata Teleservices with Bharti Airtel is another feather in the cap of N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons. Finding the right home for our longstanding customers and our employees has been the priority for us.

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As part of the deal, Tata's mobile customers in 19 service areas will move to Bharti Airtel along with airwaves that Tata had purchased. "Securities Private Limited is the financial advisor to Tata".

Under the agreement, Bharti Airtel will acquire Tata Teleservices's consumer mobile business operations across India in 19 circles, boosting its spectrum foot print with the addition of 178.5 MHz spectrum in the 850, 1800 & 2100 MHz bands, said the statement filed with the BSE.

Tata is also in the initial stages of exploring a combination of its enterprise business with Tata Communications and its retail fixed line and broadband business with Tata Sky.

Any such transaction will be subject to respective boards and other requisite approvals. Having said that, Tata will retain its stake in Viom while taking care of all the liabilities associated with it. As part of the merger, Airtel will absorb Tata's consumer mobile business operations across the country in nineteen circles (17 under TTSL and 2 under TTML).

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