Tata Group originally agreed to the sale of its mobile phone business unit in 2017

Indian conglomerate, Tata Group, has paid off $7.3 billion worth of dues, in order to complete the sale of its mobile phone business to Bharti Airtel.

The deal was originally announced two years ago but has been held up over outstanding payments to India’s Department of Telecoms.

“All debt obligations of the consumer mobile business of Tata Teleservices have been repaid as per schedule,” a Tata Group spokeswoman told journalists from The Economic Times of India in an emailed statement.

Tata decided to sell off its mobile phone business unit around the time that the country’s disruptive operator, Reliance Jio, arrived on the scene in 2016. Jio has revolutionised India’s telecommunications sector by offering ultra low priced data tariffs and handsets to Indian consumers, bringing about a digital revolution in the country. This, in turn, has dramatically impacted on margins for operators, causing some companies to sell out of the sector altogether.

In 2017, Tata Group agreed to merge its unprofitable mobile phone business unit with Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Airtel, in what was termed at the time as a "debt-free, cash-free transaction".

Some two years later, the deal will now be allowed to complete, following Tata Group’s payment of the outstanding dues.

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