Bharti Airtel pays Rs 18,530 cr for 115 MHz spectrum

Airtel_logoBharti Airtel has acquired 115 MHz spectrum for a total consideration of Rs 18,530 crores in the just concluded spectrum auction conducted by the government of India.

The company will make an upfront payment of Rs5,425 crores, with the balance to be paid in ten annual instalments of Rs 1,310 crores each, commencing two years from now.

Bharti Airtel’s spectrum acquisition is in line with its strategy of building a robust network of the future and enhancing its leadership position in the fast growing data segment. The company plans to roll-out high speed 4G networks in various circles using FD-LTE technology in the 1800 MHz band besides its existing TD-LTE roll-out in the 2300 MHz band, giving it a pan-India 4G footprint.

Bharti Airtel complimented DoT and TRAI on the successful outcome of the auction. It said that the auction has lent credence to the industry’s position that reasonable reserve prices ensure successful auctions, while high reserve prices are counterproductive.

It added that in most circles the auction in 1800 MHz showed a balanced approach between the revenue for the exchequer and industry viability due to ample spectrum being put up for auctions. However, the auction in 900 MHz band resulted in artificial and unrealistic prices on account of shortage of spectrum and the unenviable position of the incumbents who were forced to bid for this spectrum to protect the interest of their customers and the huge investments made by them.

Gopal Vittal, Joint MD & CEO – India, Bharti Airtel said, “The auction has provided much needed long term certainty and clarity around spectrum and other regulatory policies. However, future auctions should ensure that more spectrum in the 900 MHz band is secured from other agencies and the operators who are grossly underutilizing this important spectrum band.”

“The auction also highlights the urgent need for vacating E-GSM spectrum in the 800 MHz band, which is being used for older technologies or is lying unused with certain agencies,” added Vittal.

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