Bharti buys 49 pc stake in Qualcomm BWA unit for $165 mln

Bharti buys 49 pc stake in Qualcomm BWA unit for $165 mln

Bharti buys 49 pc stake in Qualcomm BWA unit for $165 mln

Bharti Airtel today announced a Rs 922 crore (USD 165 million) deal with Qualcomm Asia Pacific, a move which will help the country's largest telecom operator establish a stronghold in fast-growing high speed internet services.

The Bharti Group firm has acquired 49 per cent stake in Qualcomm Asia Pacific's Indian broadband wireless access (BWA) entities with licences to offer the 4G data services in four cirles of Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala.

Bharti Airtel would complete ownership of Qualcomm AP's Indian entities by 2014, according to the agreement signed here.

"The agreement contemplates that once commercial operations are launched, subject to certain terms and conditions, Bharti would assume complete ownership and financial responsibility for the BWA entities by the end of 2014," the company said in a statement.
The Rs 71,450 crore company (revenue) with a subscriber base of 25 crore had bagged BWA licences in four circles -Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra on its own. It has already launched the high speed data services in Kolkata and Bangalore.

Bharti Airtel will buy 26 per cent stake in Qualcomm AP from Global Holding Corporation and Tulip Telecom (13 per cent) and the balance 23 per cent by subscribing to fresh equity of Qualcomm.

Global Holding Corporation and Tulip Telecom had bought 13 per cent stake each in the BWA entities for USD 57.72 million (about Rs 268 crore) in 2010.

"This partnership will combine the strength of Bharti's national telecom footprint and Qualcomm's technological leadership in the LTE TDD (4G) space. With a broadband ready network across India, Bharti is well positioned to lead the next phase of Indian's telecom revolution," Bharti Airtel Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Bharti Mittal said.

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Infotel is the only company to have pan-India (22 circles) BWA spectrum for the 4G services. However, it is yet to launch the service.