New Delhi: Telecom operator Bharti Airtel’s move to acquire Telenor India an undisclosed sum has virtually triggered off a telecom turf war. Airtel is India's largest wireless operator with over 269 million subscribers and a revenue market share of over 33 percent. Airtel’s take over of Telenor India will give it access to the latter’s spectrum, licenses and operations,including its employees and customer base of 44 million. Airtel will acquire Telenor India's running operations in seven circles Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP (East), UP (West) and Assam.
"The proposed acquisition will include transfer of all of Telenor India's assets and customers, further augmenting Airtel's overall customer base and network. It will also enable Airtel to further bolster its strong spectrum footprint in these seven circles, with the addition of 43.4 MHz spectrum in the 1,800 MHz band," Airtel said.
Airtel’s acquisition which is expected to completed with in 12 months, brings it in direct competition with Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited. Owned by Mukesh Ambani, Reliance Jio Infocomm entered the telecom sector as Jio promising to the change the game. It provides wireless 4G LTE service network (without 2G/3G based services) and is the only 'VoLTE-only' (Voice over LTE) operator in the country which lacks legacy network support of 2G and 3G, with coverage across all 22 telcom circles in India. Reliance Jio opened up the sector by announcing a “Happy New Year” plan with free unlimited data voice calls and messages to all its users till March 1, 2017.
Airtel followed suit by announcing that it will offer free data for 12 months, worth up to Rs 9,000, to customers who switch to Airtel 4G. The offer was made available to any customer with a 4G mobile handset that is currently not on the Airtel network. The offer was available to Airtel’s customers seeking to upgrade to 4G.