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Bharti Airtel plans to buy 4G licences from Qualcomm

Indian operator in talks with chipmaker to buy 4G licences in a deal that may be worth US$1.1 billion, says report.
Written by Liau Yun Qing on

Indian operator Bharti Airtel is reported to be in talks with Qualcomm to buy the U.S. chipmaker's 4G licences in the country in a deal that may be worth 60 billion rupees (US$1.1 billion).

In an The Economic Times report Wednesday, a person familar with the matter said the deal will likely be closed by June. The licences will allow Bharti to launch 4G services in key markets such as Delhi and Mumbai, it said.

Qualcomm previously won spectrum in four regions including Mumbai, Delhi, Haryana and Kerala in the wireless broadband auction in 2010, said the report. Both companies had begun discussion to sell Qualcomm's 74 percent stake in its Indian joint ventures to the Indian operators, it added.

However, the talks were halted after the telecom department cancelled the U.S. company's permits last year for outstanding license fees owed by one the company's joint venture partners. In February, Qualcomm has resolved the issue.

A Wednesday report by The Times of India noted that Bharti Airtel has launched its 4G service in Kolkata--becoming the first to do so in India.

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