DoT may allow Etisalat DB to merge with Allianz Infrastructure

The current rules prohibit sale of promoter’s equity in telecom service providers for three years after bagging the licences. However, both the companies had applied for a merger before the new regulation came into force.

"The matter has been discussed. The concerned authorities and they stated that now the transferee company (Etisalat) has fulfilled all the requirements of transfer.

Accordingly, DoT may proceed with the appropriate act at their end, as there appears to be no legal objection to such transfer," said sources in know of the development.

They, however, clarified that permission has not been given yet but it may come soon.
Earlier, the government had blocked the proposed merger between Etisalat and Allianz, citing the three-year lock-in requirement under the current rules.

Sources, however, point out that this may open Pandora’s box as many new operators, who could not start services within the stipulated time period, may resort to this route to merge with other operators.

DoT came out with a regulation in July 2009, imposing a three-year lock-in period after some of the new telecom licensees sold stake to foreign firms soon after they got spectrum in 2008.

Etisalat DB Telecom and Allianz, which entered the local telecom market in 2008, had applied for merger in early 2009, before the regulations came in.

The former holds licences across 13 circles while the latter has licences in two circles.
The Bombay High Court had already sanctioned the scheme of amalgamation of Allianz in Etisalat in March 2010.

Etisalat has got licence in 13 circles including Delhi, Mumbai and other major circles while Allianz has got licence in two circles of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

Etisalat is the only company with 2G spectrum in Delhi circle and is in process to launch services in the circles.

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