Airtel acquires Augere to strengthen 4G footprint

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 23, 2018 Published on August 26, 2015

Deal estimated to be ₹130-150 crore

Bharti Airtel on Wednesday said it has agreed to acquire Augere Wireless Broadband India (Augere) in a deal that will allow it to take its 4G operations to nine circles.

Augere holds 20 MHz of broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum in the telecom circles of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

Subject to approvals

“Upon acquisition, Augere will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Airtel. The acquisition is subject to necessary statutory and regulatory approvals,” it said. The company did not disclose the deal size but sources said it could be in the range of ₹130-150 crore. Augere had won the spectrum in 2010 for ₹122 crore. The acquisition would enhance the company’s strength in 4G, which it had launched recently. Airtel had also acquired BWA spectrum licence from Qualcomm in October 2013 through which it provides 4G services in Mumbai, Delhi, Haryana, and Kerala. Airtel had acquired 4G spectrum in Kolkata, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka during the 2010 auctions.

The company has launched its 4G services commercially in 296 towns across India early this month, ahead of the impending mega launch by Reliance Jio.

Augere was promoted by a clutch of investors led by Sanjiv Ahuja, the former CEO of France-based Orange Telecom. In 2011, the company signed a deal with Ericsson for supply of network gear. But the company has since decided to exit due to regulatory uncertainties and lack of a strong business plan. Since then it has been looking for a buyer.

Surprise winners

During the 2010 auctions, there were a number of surprise winners including Qualcomm, Tikona, Augere and HFCL. While HFCL’s spectrum was acquired by Reliance Jio, Qualcomm and Tikona’s airwaves have been bought by Airtel. Tikona also has been looking for investors but so far has not been able to strike a deal.

The government had sold 4G spectrum in the 2300 MHz band which at that time looked lucrative due to a lower reserve price compared to the 3G spectrum.

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Published on August 26, 2015
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