Bharti Airtel’s board of directors has approved the combining of Augere Wireless Broadband into its company, it informed BSE. The amalgamation would be subject to regulatory approvals. Airtel acquired Augere, which holds 20 Mhz of BWA spectrum in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh telecom circles, in August this year for an estimated Rs 150 crore. In the same month, Airtel launched commercial operations for its 4G services in 296 cities in India, offering data packs starting at Rs 25.
Airtel’s mobile internet revenues grew by 60%
Mobile internet revenues for Airtel in India grew by 60.3% year-on-year to Rs 2,893 crore for the quarter ended September 30th 2015 (Q2-FY16), accounting for around 21.5% of total revenues for the company. Q-o-q, the same revenues were up 9.29% from Rs 2,647 crores. Airtel did not disclose updated data on how its 4G service was performing. In January 2014, it had claimed that its 4G connection base had crossed 100,000 in the country.
Airtel acquired 111.6 MHz spectrum during the March spectrum auction: 60.20 MHz in the 900 MHz band, 15.40 MHz in the 1800 MHz band and 35 MHz in the 2100 MHz band. At that time, the company said that it would be able to offer pan India 4G services using a combination of FD-LTE technology in the 1800 MHz band and TD-LTE roll out in the 2300 MHz band. In 2013, Airtel had acquired 100% stake in Qualcomm’s Wireless Business Services.
In May 2012, it made an initial investment of approximately $165 million (Rs 927.39 crore) to acquire 49% in Qualcomm’s India entities.
Augere had received FIPB approval for increasing foreign stake
In December last year, Augere got the FIPB approval to increase its foreign equity participation from 74% to 100%. The company had previously got FIPB approval for increasing its foreign equity from 49% to 74% in 2011 and had announced a partnership with Ericsson for its 4G/TD- long term evolution (TD-LTE).
Augere had won the spectrum in India’s Broadband Wireless Auction in 2010, and had planned to roll out LTE services under its ZOOSH brand in the second quarter of 2012. However, it was unable to do so failing to raise fresh funding from domestic and international investors following regulatory uncertainty over the telecom sector. This was after the Supreme Court ruled cancellation of 2G licences, and the TRAI’s recommendations on fresh auctions and refarming of spectrum.