India's Idea buys Videocon spectrum for $497m

26 November 2015 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

India’s Idea Cellular has bought rival operator Videocon’s spectrum in two regions for a total of $497 million.

Videocon is even talking to other potential bidders about buying spectrum in other areas for even more.

The company is hoping to raise a total of $1.6 billion through a series of deals, including the one that has been announced. 

Idea Cellular will use the spectrum to start 4G services in the two service areas, or circles. The deals have to be approved by the Indian government’s telecoms department. 

In the first such deal since spectrum trading was permitted in India, Idea Cellular bought Videocon Industries’ spectrum in two circles, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh West.

Videocon told India’s Business Standard that the company is in talks with “multiple bidders” about spectrum in Uttar Pradesh East and Bihar circles, which it is valuing at $525 million. 

And it plans to sell its operations — including spectrum, subscribers and network — in Madhya Pradesh and Haryana next year for $600 million.

Videocon said it would hold on to its profitable mobile business in the Punjab circle, but otherwise will focus on enterprise businesses and mobile wallet services.