Airtel-Tata Tele merger gets CCI nod

Fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the merger of Tata Teleservices with Bharti Airtel as consolidation in the telecom sector becomes a reality.

Airtel, which is acquiring Tata Teleservices virtually for free, will be getting around 71 MHz of liberalised spectrum and 40 million customers to add to its kitty as it gears up to fight bigger rivals in the form of Vodafone-Idea Cellular combine and also Reliance Jio.

The telecom sector is looking forward to a scenario where there will be three big private operators along with state-run BSNL. There may be smaller operators in the form of Aircel and Reliance Communications (RCom). Although RCom has made it clear that it is going to shut down its 2G and 3G business and concentrate only on 4G after its merger with Aircel was called off due to delay in approvals.

As per a CCI order, the proposed combination of Tata Teleservices and Bharti Airtel has been approved. The merger will also need approvals from other NCLT and other institutions like the Department of Telecommunications etc.

With the acquisition of the Tatas' wireless business, Airtel is getting a debt-free company while pushing its user base to around 321 million. The consolidation in the sector is being seen as an outcome of the competitive tariff being offered by newcomer Reliance Jio.