The Indian market leading operator Bharti Airtel has confirmed that it will buy smaller local operator Loop Mobile.
The deal will result in the two operators overlapping to form the largest mobile network in Mumbai, which is typically one of the most lucrative telecom circles in India. The new network will have over 7 million subscribers.
Airtel has not yet revealed how much it will pay for Loop Mobile, and has stated that it has not yet signed any “definitive agreements”. The figure of INR3 billion ($48 million) has been mooted, although this would also require Airtel to assume INR4 billion of Loop’s debt.
If the acquisition receives regulatory and statutory approval, the combined 7 million Mumbai subscribers will enjoy access to Loop Mobile’s 2G/EDGE enabled network – which features around 2500 cell sites – and both Airtel’s 2G and 3G networks, which are built across around 4000 cell sites. Furthermore, subscribers would benefit from 220 retail outlets and a range of services such as Airtel Money.
The deal follows the news that Airtel acquired Loop’s Mumbai spectrum in last week’s auctions.