Airtel and Tata Teleservices had announced that both parties would merge last month. Through this merger, Airtel acquires Consumer Mobile Businesses (CMB) of Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) and Tata Teleservices Limited (TTML) in 19 circles across the country. The merger is currently undergoing regulatory approvals but the transition has begun. Starting today, Tata Teleservices customers will start transitioning to Airtel’s mobile network under an Intra Circle Roaming (ICR) arrangement.
The transition will first affect Tata Teleservices customers in UP (West), Bihar and West Bengal. Eventually, in the coming weeks the transition will spread, and all Tata Teleservices customers will successfully transition to Airtel’s network. Under this merger, Tata Teleservices customers will continue using their same SIM cards. Users will also be billed according to their existing plans and pack benefits. In essence, this merger won’t affect any changes at the users’ end.
T Elango, President of Tata Teleservices’ Consumer Business commented on the transition saying, “As we rationalise our network assets on a staggered basis, we have decided to begin transitioning our mobile customers to the Airtel network under an ICR arrangement. We assure our customers of best in class services with zero disruption.”
Airtel and Tata Teleservices’ merger is being conducted on a debt-free and cash-free basis. However, Airtel is occupying a small portion of Tata’s unpaid spectrum of 20 percent amounting to Rs 9,000 and 10,000 crore towards DoT which will be paid on a deferred basis. In total, the Tatas have a Rs 31,000 crore debt with the remaining amount to be paid by the company to the government. This acquisition is said to help Tata’s dying mobile business which would have been forced to shut down had it continued with the loss. As for Airtel, this is the company’s fourth acquisition in five years.