Telenor to quit India, after agreeing sale to Bharti Airtel

Telenor

Telenor has agreed to sell its Indian operating company to Bharti Airtel for an undisclosed fee.

Bharti Airtel, India’s largest operator, will take over Telenor India’s spectrum, licenses and operations, including its employees and 44 million customers.  

Sigve Brekke, Chief Executive Officer of Telenor Group, said: “Today’s agreement is in the best interest of our customers, employees and Telenor Group.

“Finding a long term solution to our India business has been a priority for us, and we are pleased with our agreement with Airtel.  

”The decision to exit India has not been taken lightly.

“After thorough consideration, it is our view that the significant investments needed to secure Telenor India’s future business on a standalone basis would not have given an acceptable level of return.”  

Incumbent telecoms operators in the Indian market have come under extreme pressure from the entry of Reliance Jio, which has moved to offer free data services.

Vodafone said earlier this month competition in the Indian market had “heightened”, its revenues there had slumped, and it is itself looking for a merger to stabilise its Indian business.

Vodafone confirmed in January it is talks with Aditya Birla Group about a possible merger, having puts its proposed IPO on hold.

Bharti Airtel is India’s largest wireless operator with over 269 million subscribers, and a 33 percent share of the market in terms of total revenues.  

Gopal Vittal, Managing Director and CEO of Bharti Airtel, said: “The agreement underlines our commitment to lead India’s digital revolution by offering world-class and affordable telecom services through a robust spectrum portfolio spread across multiple bands.”

He added: “On completion, the proposed acquisition will undergo seamless integration, both on the customer as well as the network side, and further strengthen our market position considerably in several key circles.”

Telenor operates in six ‘telecoms circles’, or regions, in India, including Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Bihar, the country’s most populous states, and also retains spectrum in Assam.

The deal, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close within 12 months. Telenor entered the Indian market in 2008. Its 2016 revenues in India were NOK 6.0 billion (€680 million).

Read more: Telenor returns to profit despite writedown at new digital advertising business

More News

Nokia CEO “cautiously optimistic” as business improves in first quarter Nokia CEO “cautiously optimistic” as business improves in first quarter Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri said he was cautiously optimistic about the year ahead as he unveiled improving Q1 financials. More detail
Orange CEO says strategy is bearing fruit as he unveils Q1 figures Orange CEO says strategy is bearing fruit as he unveils Q1 figures Orange continued to improve its financial performance in the first quarter as sales and earnings rose. More detail
Vodafone and Proximus extend Belgium, Luxembourg agreement to 2022 Vodafone and Proximus extend Belgium, Luxembourg agreement to 2022 Vodafone and Proximus have renewed a strategic partnership that will see the two operators continue to offer joint products and services in Belgium and Luxembourg. More detail
Telia lowers Uzbek fine expectations, finally sells Tcell, as it reports Q1 numbers Telia lowers Uzbek fine expectations, finally sells Tcell, as it reports Q1 numbers Telia has said it hopes to pay less than anticipated for alleged corruption in Uzbekistan, as it finally sold off its opco in Tajikistan. More detail
KPN sees wholesale problems add to its business woes in Q1 KPN sees wholesale problems add to its business woes in Q1 KPN’s wholesale arm registered a double-digit decline in sales in the first three months of the year, although the operator made headway on improving its profits. More detail
    

@eurocomms