India’s largest cellco by subscribers Bharti Airtel has signed an agreement with Aircel to acquire its 4G-compatible spectrum in eight circles for INR35 billion (USD526.7 million). The spectrum consists of 20MHz of time division duplex (TDD) 2300MHz airwaves in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, North East, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, valid until 20 September 2030. The cellco notes, however, that the transfer of spectrum rights in Andhra Pradesh and Orissa are subject to the revision of spectrum caps. Following the acquisition, Airtel will have pan-India 4G spectrum, potentially robbing newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL) of its first-mover advantage. RJIL, which has yet to launch commercial services, was previously the only player with pan-India 4G frequencies. As a further advantage, the acquisition relieves some of the pressure for Airtel to bid aggressively in the upcoming spectrum auction.
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