Billionaire Mittal Buys Aircel’s Airwaves to Boost 4G Services
Bharti Airtel Ltd., India’s largest wireless operator, said it will buy airwaves from Aircel Ltd. taking its spectrum acquisitions this year to $1.2 billion as it prepares to counter Reliance Industries Ltd. that’s starting fourth-generation wireless services this year.
The company controlled by billionaire Chairman Sunil Mittal will spend 35 billion rupees ($524 million) to purchase airwaves from Aircel in eight areas, Airtel said in a statement on Friday. The New Delhi-based company bought spectrum from Videocon Telecommunications Ltd. for $663 million last month.
Airtel is adding spectrum as it gears up to fend off competition from Reliance, controlled by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man, which is investing 1.5 trillion rupees in its 4G services. Companies are seeking consolidation in a market where as many as 12 operators fight for over a billion subscribers, driving down tariffs and hurting margins.
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