An agreement between Bharti Airtel and Qualcomm Asia Pacific’s Indian BWA entities has been signed, where the former has acquired 49% of the stakes. The agreement states that Bharti has made an initial investment of around $165 million to acquire 49% interest in Qualcomm AP’s India entities. The latter holds BWA licenses in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala. This has been made possible by acquiring 26% equity interest which is equally held by Global Holding and Tulip Telecom. The rest has been made possible by subscribing to fresh equity in the entities.
“We are delighted to partner with Qualcomm, who shares our commitment to the government’s agenda of broadband for all. This partnership will combine the strength of Bharti’s national telecom footprint and Qualcomm’s technological leadership in the LTE-TDD space. With a broadband ready network across India, Bharti is well positioned to lead the next phase of Indian’s telecom revolution,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Airtel, Sunil Mittal.
“One of our key objectives has been to include a strong partner in the Indian venture with the scale, experience and resources to deploy LTE TDD networks. We are pleased to have Bharti’s participation and support in this effort,” said Dr Paul E Jacobs, Chairman and CEO of Qualcomm. “GHC and Tulip have been great partners in facilitating this transaction and Qualcomm remains dedicated to the continued progress and success of the BWA venture and to fulfilling our commitment as a key equity stakeholder,” he added.
The agreement also says that Bharti will assume complete ownership and financial responsibility of BWA entities by the end of 2014, following the launch of commercial operations. However, this is subject to certain terms and conditions.
As of now, Bharti owns BWA licenses in 4 circles – Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra. It also has 3G licenses in 13 circles in India. The company has the lead role in LTE- TDD space following the launch of 4G services in Kolkata and Bangalore. With the current agreement, Bharti has secured nation-wide broadband leadership with a combination of 4G and 3G, having a network in 18 circles.
Qualcomm will provide technical assistance to Bharti in the fields of network architecture and optimization, infrastructure and device testing. It will also cater to developing and supporting the underlying technology and the LTE-TDD ecosystem.
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