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DoT Plans To Challenge Airtel-Tata Tele Merger In SC Next Month

The telecom department is planning to challenge merger of Tata Teleservices consumer business with Bharti Airtel in the Supreme Court next month. “The DoT has not taken merger of Airtel and Tata Teleservices on record. Airtel has operationalised it (the merger) based on a order from the TDSAT. The department is planning to file special leave petition in the Supreme Court against the TDSAT order next month,” an official source told PTI.

Airtel declined to comment on the query sent in this regard.

Bharti Airtel on July 1 announced that the consumer mobile business of Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) has now become its part.

The company sources, however, said that telecom tribunal TDSAT had directed the DoT to take the merger on record.

“The TDSAT had categorically allowed operationalisation of the spectrum and to take all consequential actions for completing the merger. The NCLT approved the scheme and allowed for the filing with the Registrar of Companies within the stipulated period. In line with the orders of the TDSAT and the NCLT, the merger was completed,” the company source said.

The confirmation from the Registrar of Companies (RoC) for completion of the merger has also been received by the company, the source said.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal had ordered the Department of Telecommunications to take on record the merger and approval of the schemes of arrangement by Delhi and Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).

The 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 merger of Airtel and Tata’s consumer mobile business (CMB) on record.

The TDSAT on May 2 granted partial stay on around Rs 8,287 crore demand raised by the telecom department from Bharti Airtel for approving its merger with the consumer business of TTSL.

Bharti Airtel submitted only Rs 644 crore as directed by the TDSAT to complete the merger.

As part of the merger, Airtel has absorbed Tata Teleservices’ CMB operations in 19 telecom circles – 17 under TTSL and 2 under Tata Teleservices (Maharashtra) Ltd. It also agreed to take over a small portion of the unpaid spectrum liability of Tata Teleservices.

The merger bolsters Airtel’s radiowaves pool with additional 178.5 MHz spectrum in 1800, 2100 and 850 MHz bands, widely used for 4G.―Money Control

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