Bharti Airtel takes 100% stake in Qualcomm’s 4G broadband venture

18 October 2013 | Kavit Majithia

Bharti Airtel has acquired Qualcomm’s stake in a 4G broadband venture in India, to take full control of the company.

Airtel has increased its stake from 51% to 100% in Wireless Business Services – a company founded by Qualcomm – for an undisclosed fee.

It paid $165 million for a 49% stake in the company last year, and bought an additional 2% earlier this year to take a majority holding.

Airtel originally planned to increase its stake to 100% by the end of 2014, but it has speeded up its takeover.

Wireless Business Services was founded to operate as a facilitator of high-speed wireless access, after Qualcomm paid approximately $1 billion in a 2010 spectrum auction.

The company holds 4G spectrum in four of India’s 22 telecoms zones, but has not yet started commercial services.

Airtel also holds 4G spectrum in four other zones in the country.