India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) approved American Tower’s purchase of about 9,000 towers from Idea Cellular for INR40 billion ($584 million), concluding the infrastructure investment company’s two-stage buyout of 20,000 towers from Idea and Vodafone India, The Economic Times reported.
The government last month cleared Vodafone’s sale of about 11,000 towers to the US-based tower company for INR38.5 billion, the newspaper said.
Vodafone and Idea Cellular, which are in the process of merging, in November 2017 signed separate deals with American Tower to sell the towers for a combined INR78.5 billion. The operators agreed to be “preferred partners” to American Tower, granting them preferential rights to continue using the sites alongside the infrastructure company’s other assets.
The country’s regulators are in the final stage of assessing Vodafone and Idea’s plan to combine their businesses to create India’s largest wireless network operator. The merger is expected to close in June.
In another move to consolidate, Bharti Airtel last month agreed to combine its tower business Bharti Infratel with Indus Towers. Vodafone holds a 42 per cent stake in Indus Towers, while Idea has a 11.15 per cent interest.