Bharti Airtel Ltd is in its final stages of talks with Tikona Digital Networks Pvt. Ltd to procure the Tikona’s 4G spectrum, Airtel being the country’s largest telecom company seeks to leverage its capacity to offer data services to its customers.
The deal is going to be an additional step in the process of consolidation set off by the aggressive pricing tactics of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which entered the telecom industry in September.
The Bharti-Tikona transaction would be in the range of Rs 800-1,000 crore, Tikona has some debt on its books which Airtel will assume, so the overall deal value is close to Rs1,500-1,700 crore. The deal will be fragmented into multiple tranches.
Tikona brought 20MHz of 4G airwaves in the 2,300 MHz band in the 2010 auctions held at Himachal Pradesh, Gujrat, Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West) and Rajasthan for a sum of Rs1,058 crore. Airtel has limited 4G waves in the band in circles where Tikona, a Mumbai-based network solutions provider, has a spectrum. In UP (East), UP (West) and Rajasthan, it has no airwaves in the 2,300 MHz band. In Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, it has 10 MHz each.
“The idea is (for Airtel) to strengthen the overall portfolio and increase capacity to offer data. The deal will help get pan-India 4G coverage in 2,300 MHz band…it will help Airtel fill the gaps in 2,300 MHz,” said Airtel officials .