NEW DELHI: Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has inked a agreement to purchase a 49 per cent stake in Qualcomm's fourth-generation (4G) broadband venture in the country for $165 million.
Under the pact, Bharti will buy a 26 per cent stake held by two Indian partners in the Qualcomm broadband venture and the balance stake by subscribing to fresh equity.
In a 2010 auction, Qualcomm spent close to $1 billion to buy 4G airwaves. The company had sold a total 26 per cent stake to Global Holding Corp and Tulip Telecom for about $58 million in accordance with the sector's foreign holding rules.
Presently, Bharti holds 4G licences in telecom circles such as Kolkata, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra, while Qualcomm's India unit holds licences for Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala.
Sunil Mittal, Bharti Airtel chairman and managing director, said, “We are delighted to partner with Qualcomm, who shares our commitment to the government’s agenda of broadband for all. This partnership will combine the strength of Bharti’s national telecom footprint and Qualcomm’s technological leadership. With a broadband ready network across India, Bharti is well positioned to lead the next phase of Indian’s telecom revolution.”