Bharti Airtel Ltd, India’s largest cellular services provider, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Augere Wireless Broadband India Pvt Ltd, for an undisclosed amount, it said on Wednesday.
This is a step towards ramping up its 4G services which will now be available in over 300 cities and towns.
Augere Wireless Broadband is part of a UK-based multi-national telecom firm founded by Sanjiv Ahuja, former CEO of French telco Orange. Augere aims to drive broadband internet services in emerging markets using wireless networks.
According to its website, it has raised more than $300 million in funding.
Augere’s first commercial wireless network was launched under the Qubee brand in Pakistan in July 2009. This was followed by the Bangladesh network in October 2009. Today Augere operates wireless networks comprising more than 800 radio base stations and serves about 200,000 broadband customers.
In India, Augere has licences to operate broadband wireless networks in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh with 20 MHz of BWA spectrum. To date, Augere has not launched services in India although it has tested a pilot wireless network based on LTE technology in Madhya Pradesh.
Bharti Airtel, the world’s third-largest telecom operator by subscriber numbers, announced the official launch of its 4G services early this month while it launched trials in Delhi NCR in June this year.
The telecom company launched first 4G network in India in Kolkata in April 2012.
It’s move to boost its data services business comes right ahead of a much anticipated launch of Reliance Jio. Reliance Jio has a pan-Indian 4G telecom services licence and is expected to launch commercial operations before December.
Shares of Bharti Airtel closed at Rs 339.75 each, down 2.57 per cent on BSE in a weak Mumbai market on Wednesday.