Bharti Leads Jump in Indian Carriers on Spectrum Proposal

Bharti Airtel Ltd. (BHARTI) led Indian wireless operators higher after a government regulator recommended mobile carriers share spectrum to lower costs.

Bharti Airtel shares jumped as much as 5.8 percent, headed for the biggest gain since since June 2, before trading at 350.70 rupees at 11:58 a.m. in Mumbai. Idea Cellular Ltd. (IDEA) climbed as much as 5.3 percent while Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCOM) added 3.5 percent.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommended allowing operators to pool spectrum for simultaneous use if the carriers have the same band in the same coverage circle, according to a statement on its website yesterday. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India Ltd. and Idea, the top three operators, will benefit the most because they already cover most of the country and the proposal will boost access to spectrum at a low cost, according to a BNP Paribas SA report yesterday.

“The news of sharing spectrum is very positive for telecom companies,” said D.K. Aggarwal, New Delhi-based chairman of SMC Investments & Advisors Ltd.

Idea also rose after reporting yesterday first quarter net income of 7.28 billion rupees ($121 million), beating the 6.29 billion rupee median of 21 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The wireless carrier rally signals new interest in Indian operators, according to Aggarwal.

The spectrum-sharing recommendations will go to the Department of Telecommunications for review.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bianca Vázquez Toness in New Delhi at btoness@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net Aaron Clark, Robert Fenner

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