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Bharti Airtel Submits Rs 644 Crore In TDSAT For Tata Teleservices Merger

Telecom firm Bharti Airtel Ltd. is learnt to have submitted a bank guarantee of Rs 644 crore in Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal to complete the merger of Tata Teleservices Ltd.’ consumer business with the company.

The TDSAT had on May 2 granted partial stay on a Rs 8,300-crore demand raised by the telecom department from Bharti Airtel for approving its merger with the consumer business of Tata Teleservices.

“Bharti Airtel has submitted bank guarantee of around Rs 644 crore in TDSAT to complete merger of Tata Teleservices with the company, as was directed by the tribunal,” said a person familiar with the development.

An e-mail query sent to Bharti Airtel remained unanswered as of publishing this story.

The TDSAT directed “the concerned authorities of the Union of India to take the merger of two companies and licence on record”, subject to stay on one-time spectrum charges demand of around Rs 7,000 crore.

The tribunal also asked Airtel to submit 50 percent payment of Rs 1,287.97 crore demand raised by the telecom department as one-time spectrum charges for the Chennai circle licence extension from Nov. 30, 2014, to Sept. 27, 2021. It directed Airtel on May 2 to submit around Rs 640 crore for Chennai licence within four weeks.

The telecom department had earlier asked Airtel to submit a bank guarantee of around Rs 7,000 crore and an immediate payment of Rs 1,287.97 crore before it takes the Airtel-Tata Tele merger on record.

As part of the proposed Airtel-Tata Tele merger, Airtel will absorb Tata Teleservices’ consumer business in 19 telecom circles (17 under Tata Teleservices and two under Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd.). It also agreed to take over a small portion of the unpaid spectrum liability of Tata Teleservices.

The Airtel-Tata Tele merger will bolster Bharti Airtel’s spectrum pool with significant additional 178.5 Mhz spectrum in 1800, 2100 and 850 Mhz bands, widely used for 4G.

The proposed merger will include transfer of all the customers and assets of Tata Teleservices’ consumer business to Airtel.―Bloomberg Quint

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