Airtel increases stake in Qualcomm-founded 4G firm to 93.45 percent

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Airtel increases stake in Qualcomm-founded 4G firm to 93.45 percent
Telecom major Bharti Airtel has increased its stake in Wireless Business Services (WBSPL), a company founded by US chipmaker Qualcomm, to 93.45 percent at an estimated cost of about Rs. 875 crore.

"As per the revised equity structure, Bharti Airtel holds 93.45 percent and Qualcomm Asia Pacific holds 6.55 percent equity in the company," sources said, citing a communication from WBSPL to the Department of Telecom.

No immediate comments were received from Airtel, which had earlier said it plans to completely acquire WBSPL by 2014.

WBSPL holds 4G spectrum in four areas, including New Delhi.

Airtel acquired a majority stake in WBSPL in July by increasing its stake to 51 percent from 49 percent.

The company had acquired a 49 percent stake in WBSPL in May 2012 for USD 165 million. At that price, the additional stake purchase would have cost Airtel an estimated USD 143 million, or Rs. 875 crore at today's closing exchange rate.

WBSPL has spectrum that can be used for high-speed 4G services in New Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala. Airtel has the similar spectrum in Punjab, Maharashtra, Kolkata and Karnataka.

Airtel has launched 4G services in Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

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