Tata Group has completed the sale of its Docomo firm under its Tata Teleservices division to Bharti Airtel for $7.3 billion (₹50,000 crore). Under the deal finalised in October 2017, India’s premier conglomerate decided to do away with its non-performing telecommunications business. As part of the final straw, Tata Sons, the parent company of the group, paid ₹10,000 crore to the Department of Telecommunications last month, after clearing pending loans worth ₹40,000 crore.
“All debt obligations of the consumer mobile business of Tata Teleservices have been repaid as per schedule.”, said a Tata Group spokeswoman.
Since the launch of Jio by Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. in 2016, the nation’s telecommunications market has become consolidated, with several players finding it difficult to survive. Jio’s offering of free calls and low-cost data was achieved on the shoulders of its fat pocket. The growing losses and declining performance triggered by Jio forced Tata to dispose of Docomo.
With this merger, Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel has become India’s second-largest telecommunication service provider. The third player in the market is Vodafone Idea Ltd., formed by the merger of Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Idea Cellular Ltd. with the Indian subsidiary of England-based Vodafone Group PLC.