Bharti Airtel has entered into an agreement to acquire the mobile operations of Tata Teleservices Ltd and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd, the telecom operator said on Thursday. The agreement is, however, yet to be approved by market regulators.
According to the agreement, Bharti Airtel will assume an unpaid debt Tata Teleservices owes to the Department of Telecom for spectrum. Barring this, the acquisition will be done on a debt-free, cash-free basis, which means the loss-making, debt-laden Tata Teleservices will have to pay its own liabilities.
In a filing to the stock exchanges, Bharti Airtel said it would also absorb the estimated 4 crore customers of the two Tata companies in 19 circles.
The telecom industry has seen significant activity since the entry of Reliance Jio in September 2016. In March, a proposed merger between Idea Cellular and Vodafone India was approved by the boards of both companies, which could create the country’s largest telecom company. In 2016, Reliance Communications had announced its plans to merge with Aircel, though it was called off last week.