Telecom battle gets more intense as Bharti Airtel acquires Tikona's 4G spectrum for Rs 1600 crore

Bharti Airtel on Thursday entered into an agreement with Tikona Digital Networks to acquire Tikona's 4G business. The acquisition also includes Tikona's Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum and 350 sites, in five telecom circles.

Bharti Airtel on Thursday entered into an agreement with Tikona Digital Networks to acquire Tikona's 4G business. The acquisition also includes Tikona's Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum and 350 sites, in five telecom circles.

The latest move of the telecom major would further intensify the battle which was triggered by the launch of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio.

According to various media reports, after this deal, Airtel will now have 30 MHz in 2300 MHz band in 13 circles.

However, the acquisition is still subject to regulatory approvals.

Meanwhile, after Jio made serious allegations about network speed test company Ookla, colluding with Airtel to give the title of "officially the fastest network", Bharti Airtel defended its claim.

Jio had filed a complaint with the the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). The bone of contention was Airtel's use of the phrase "officially the fastest network" which, according to Reliance Jio was "misleading".

Airtel countered this allegation with a statement from Rajiv Mathrani, chief brand officer at Bharti Airtel. He stated, "our latest advertising campaign is based on the findings by Ookla... Ookla's findings are based on rigorous and extensive testing across millions of devices. We are rather amused by the allegations being made against our campaign. We believe that this is a deliberate attempt to malign our brand and misguide customers through a campaign of misinformation, which is something we now come across on a regular basis, in particular, on social media platforms."

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Even Ookla defended Airtel's claim by backing them on the title of the fastest network. "We are always improving how additional information is collected and analyzed through our Speedtest applications to allow Ookla to accurately reflect internet performance. We have taken dual SIM information into consideration and fully stand behind Airtel being named India's Fastest Mobile Network," said Jamie Steven, COO at Ookla.

Jio had made allegations claiming that since there is no government office awarding the title, it cannot be official. "The claim of Airtel that it is India's fastest network is false, misleading and incorrect. This claim is being made by Airtel acting in a mala fide manner in collusion with Ookla, LLC," Jio said in its complaint filed before The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI).