India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has conditionally approved Bharti Airtel’s acquisition of Tata Teleservices Limited’s (TTSL’s) consumer mobile business, the Economic Times reports, citing an unnamed official. The approval is subject to Airtel submitting bank guarantees totalling around INR72 billion (USD1.04 billion), including INR60 billion for one-time spectrum charges (OTSC). According to the official, Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha granted conditional approval for the takeover earlier this week.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the cash and debt-free acquisition was first agreed in October 2017 and, with a view to accelerating the regulatory approval process, the pair announced in October 2018 that Airtel would take on the necessary liabilities to complete the transaction, including covering licence fees and spectrum charges. Despite Airtel taking responsibility for the payments, TTSL parent Tata Sons is nevertheless expected to provide the funds for the outstanding fees.