Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy Mumbai-based Loop Mobile in a deal estimated to be worth INR7.5 billion (USD121.89 million) the Economic Times writes. A number of other operators are also reportedly involved in negotiations with Loop regarding a potential takeover of the cellco’s mobile or tower businesses. Loop has declined to enter the upcoming spectrum auction, but has appealed to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to extend its Mumbai licence, offering to pay a market-determined price for its allotted 900MHz spectrum in the circle. The Mauritian-backed cellco emphasised that it was not relinquishing its right to extend its licence by sitting out of the tender.
Sandip Basu, managing director and CEO of Loop Mobile was quoted by Light Reading India as saying: ‘We believe that we have a good case before TDSAT and are likely to succeed in the matter and therefore are not participating in the auction process and we have kept TDSAT and DoT [Department of Telecommunications] informed about the same… Being one of Mumbai’s preferred operators, we will take all steps towards renewal of our license beyond November 2014 and thus sustain our continuity of service and assure our stakeholders especially subscribers regarding our ongoing commitment and investment in the business.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that Loop was one of the hardest-hit of the companies impacted by the Supreme Court’s mass licence cancellation in February 2012, which revoked all the rights of Loop Mobile’s pan-Indian sister company Loop Telecom.