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Bharti Airtel buys out Qualcomm stake in India 4G broadband JV

A worker cleans a logo of Bharti Airtel at its zonal office building in Chandigarh May 2, 2013. REUTERS/Ajay Verma/Files

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Bharti Airtel Ltd BRTI.NS, India's top telecommunications carrier, said on Friday it had bought out Qualcomm Inc's QCOM.O stake from a fourth-generation (4G) broadband joint venture in the country, taking full ownership of the business more than a year earlier than planned.

Bharti did not say how much it paid for increasing its stake to 100 percent from 51 percent in Wireless Business Services Pvt Ltd, a venture founded by Qualcomm. The Indian group paid $165 million for a 49 percent stake last year, and bought 2 percent more earlier this year.

Bharti was to increase its stake to 100 percent by end-2014, both companies said last year.

Qualcomm paid nearly $1 billion in a 2010 auction for the airwaves that facilitate high-speed wireless Internet.

The venture, which holds 4G airwaves in four of India’s 22 telecommunications zones, has yet to start commercial services.

Bharti separately holds 4G airwaves in four other zones and has started services in some cities.

Reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee