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Digest: Airtel’s abandoned VC plans; QR-code based recharges ; yuMobile acquisition & others

AirtelBharti Airtel has not yet utilized a Rs 200 crore ‘Airtel Innovation Fund’ it launched in 2008 to help startups in telecom sector, despite receiving 150 proposals, reports The Hindu. While launching the fund the company had said that it will shortlist entities with interesting ideas and probably pick up an equity stake in these ventures. It received ideas for creating applications in fields such as mobile TV, M-commerce, wireless security, m-advertising, healthcare and social networking according to the report. However, none of these ideas have received funding from the telco till now.

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QR-code based recharges

Bharti Airtel now lets its subscribers in Andhra Pradesh recharge mobile phones by scanning a QR-code instead of typing in long codes and then SMSing them. The option is being provided under the name ‘Smart Pack’ and it is available on recharge coupon of Rs 25. It will offer customers an option to choose either 2G or 3G benefits on the same pack. To use this service, a subscriber needs to have a device that can scan QR-codes.

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Bharti Telecom acquires more Airtel stakes

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Bharti Airtel said that Bharti Telecom, which is one of its promoter group entity, has bought 57.14 lakh shares for Rs 171.92 crore through various market transactions over three days. With this move Bharti Telecom has increased its stakes in Airtel to 43.72% from 43.57%.

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Kenyan regulators approve yuMobile sale

Airtel Kenya has received approval from Communications Authority of Kenya to acquire the telecom license and subscribers of Essar Telecom Kenya Limited which operates under the brand ‘yuMobile’, reports The Economic Times. The authority’s director general Francis Wangusi told reporters that  Safaricom and Bharti Airtel will get a final approval if each pays $5.4 million as fee for Essar Telecom Kenya Ltd.’s licences apart from meeting other conditions. Safaricom will acquire yuMobile’s base stations and associated infrastructure, while Airtel will now yuMobile’s 2.7 million subscribers.

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Qualcomm-Airtel deal approved

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The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has cleared Qualcomm’s sale of its stake in broadband wireless entity, Wireless Business Service Private Ltd (WBSPL), to Bharti Airtel. Qualcomm had won BWA spectrum in four circles including Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala and Haryana for Rs. 4912.54 crore, with Mumbai being the costliest circle for the company at Rs 2292.95 crore. DoT had asked the law ministry whether the auction rules allowed WBSPL, to dilute promoter’s stake to below 26% and the ministry had cleared the deal saying that it does not violate the 2010 auction rules.

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