Bharti Airtel, the country’s largest mobile operator, on 24 May 2012 announced the acquisition of 49 per cent stake in US telecom major Qualcomm Inc’s broadband wireless access (BWA) company in India for an initial investment of $165 million (Rs 907 crore).
With this move, Bharti Airtel will become a key player in the 4G LTE market, with a presence in eight of the 22 circles in the country. The acquisition of Qualcomm’s licence is crucial, as it will give Bharti an entry into four key circles: the lucrative Delhi and Mumbai markets as well as Haryana and Kerala. Bharti, on its own, has 4G spectrum in four circles, including Kolkata, where it has already launched services, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra.
Under the agreement, Bharti will acquire the 13 per cent each held by Global Holding Corporation Private Ltd (part of the GTL group) and Tulip Telecom Ltd, to whom it is paying around Rs 140 crore each