Qualcomm is best known as the world’s leading smartphone chipset maker, but the company also has business interests in the telecom sector, even in India for that matter. The California-based company had won the rights to offer high-speed wireless broadband services in four circles in India in 2010. These included the metros of Delhi and Mumbai, as well Haryana and Kerala circles.
Bharti Airtel has now become the majority shareholder in Qualcomm's India-based high-speed wireless broadband units, after buying an additional 2 percent stake in the business, according to a Wall Street Journal report. In May last year, Bharti Airtel bought a 49 percent stake in Qualcomm’s India units.
The next step
After winning the spectrum and licenses, Qualcomm established four separate JVs and retained a majority 74 percent stake in each. Global Holding Corporation and Tulip Telecom took 13 percent each in those companies. Now all four companies previously held by Qualcomm will become Airtel’s units. The financial terms of the deal were not revealed in the report.
Airtel has its eyes set on fully owning the four erstwhile JVs by the end of next year, when 4G services will be proliferating across the country. Reliance JIO will be launching its 4G mobile services later this year and this is a major victory for Airtel, as it will be able to go toe-to-toe with Reliance in at least two major metros, in addition to Haryana and Kerala. India’s leading telecom company also has a toehold in the 4G data market and currently offers 4G through dongles in Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore and Chandigarh.
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