Airtel to buy Qualcomm's 4G licences eyes Delhi, Mumbai circles


2 May 2011
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After launching 4G services in Kolkata, Bharti Airtel is now planning to bring the fourth generation telecommunications technology in circles such as Delhi and Mumbai – a move that is likely to help Airtel gain an edge over RIL, which also plans to launch 4G later this year. According to reports, the telecom giant is going to buy Qualcomm's 4G licences for about Rs. 6,000 crore.

Airtel and Qualcomm are likely to close the deal by June. It's notable that Qualcomm had won 4G licence in four circles - Mumbai, Delhi, Haryana and Kerala - in the broadband wireless auction held in 2010 for Rs 4,900 crore. According to reports, the two parties were in talks since 2010 for such an agreement but was later put on hold when the telecom department cancelled the US chipmaker's 4G licence. But last month, the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) retained Qualcomm's 4G licenses in India.

The deal with Qualcomm is believed to help Airtel consolidate its position in the 4G market, as it will again be the first telecom operator to launch 4G services in the two important circles -- Delhi and Mumbai. Airtel has 4G license in four circles namely Maharashtra (excluding Mumbai), Karnataka, Kolkata and Punjab.

According to reports, Airtel is now setting its sights at the forthcoming 700 MHz band auctions to ramp up its position in the 4G segment. The 700 MHz band is considered to be thrice as efficient as the 2,300 MHz band that was auctioned in 2010.

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