Spectrum Auction : Airtel Bags 173.8 MHz For Rs 14,244 Cr

Country’s top operator Bharti Airtel Friday acquired a total of 173.8 Mhz spectrum across multiple bands like 1800/2100/2300 MHz bands in the just ended spectrum auction. The company will have to pay the government Rs Rs 14,244 crore to own it.

With this spectrum auction the company has now 4G and 3G airwaves in all 22 circles and it said it had secured its spectrum requirement for the next 20 years. It already has 2G spectrum in all circles.

Through strategic buying in the latest spectrum auction, Airtel has built new 4G/3G capabilities in 7 circles. The company has spent Rs. 10,340 crore towards enhancing data capacities in 15 circles. It has also spent Rs 321 crore towards completing some of the existing partial blocks in 4 circles, giving it a second carrier for its future needs.

Over the past six years, the company has acquired spectrum worth Rs 100,000 crore through spectrum auction and trading in the past.

“At the outset, we would like to thank the Government for making abundant spectrum available for auctions. Airtel now has a solid spectrum portfolio that will enable it to continue leading India’s data revolution. We remain fully committed to the Government’s Digital India vision and will continue to invest towards making world-class and affordable data services available to customers in every corner of the country,” said Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel.

Airtel thanked the Department of Telecom for addressing the long standing demand of the industry by putting out a large quantum of spectrum across multiple bands in the latest auction. It also complimented the Department of Telecom for its progressive policies on spectrum trading and sharing, and the recent initiatives around harmonization of spectrum in various bands.

The company added that despite the large amount of spectrum made available, certain bands did not get any bid from the operators as it made no economic case for them based on the high reserve prices. Three to four national operators with robust 700 Mhz based broadband networks have the potential to accelerate India’s progress to the top league of digitally enabled nations. Therefore, the pricing of the 700 Mhz band spectrum needs to be addressed on priority for the nation to benefit from the digital dividend arising out of this high quality spectrum band.

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