SAJJAD PURVEZ - Bharti Airtel to buy Qualcomm's BWA business

17-Mar-2011 | News-Press Release

SAJJAD PURVEZ - Bharti Airtel to buy Qualcomm's BWA business

Sunil Mittal 
SAJJAD PURVEZ MUMBAI: Bharti Airtel is likely to buy yet-to-be-launched Indian wireless broadband business of Qualcomm, industry sources said. The US-based chip maker is set to be in an advanced stage of discussions with the country's largest telecom operator to sell its BWA licenses in all four circles, sources told ET NOW.

The valuation of the deal is likely to be around USD 1.2-1.3 billion, with a premium of 25-30%. Qualcomm has BWA licenses in four circles of Mumbai, Delhi, Kerala and Haryana and paid USD 1.05 billion for these permits and airwaves. "Qualcomm is not expecting much of a premium on these licenses. It expects only a commitment from the operator that it will use its LTE TDD technology," an industry source added. 

Qualcomm refused to confirm the story but in an email statement said that, "Qualcomm has publicly stated that it will work with 3G operators to develop the 3G+LTE ecosystem, commercially deploy LTE TDD in the BWA spectrum, and then exit its India LTE Venture. Consistent with those goals, discussions with 3G operators in India on LTE TDD commercialization and commercial discussions related to Qualcomm's BWA spectrum are indeed ongoing. These discussions are however confidential and Qualcomm cannot comment on speculation regarding specifics." An email statement sent to Bharti Airtel did not elicit any response. 

ET Now had earlier reported that along with Bharti Airtel, Aircel was also in talks with Qualcomm to buy its wireless broadband business. Earlier, Bharti Airtel had shown interest for Delhi and Haryana, while Aircel had shown interest for Mumbai and Kerala circles. But ET NOW learns that Aircel, a unit of Malaysia's Maxis Communications has walked out of the deal because of various issues. 

Qualcomm India has Global Holding and Tulip Telecomas its India partners, each holding about 13% stake in the company. Both companies will also sell their stake, if Bharti Airtel is successful in buying the BWA licenses of Qualcomm India.

courtesy: indiatimes


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