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Bharti Airtel acquires 97 MHz of spectrum across 3 frequency bands worth Rs 6,857 cr for 20 yrs

Bharti Airtel acquires 97 MHz of spectrum across 3 frequency bands worth Rs 6,857 cr for 20 yrs

| @indiablooms | 26 Jun 2024, 10:40 pm

New Delhi: Telecom giant Bharti Airtel has acquired 97 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2100 MHz frequency bands at an auction on Wednesday, costing Rs 6,857 crore.

This 20-year spectrum will improve the company's mid-band holdings in key regions.

In an exchange filing, Airtel stated that this new spectrum would strengthen its existing mid-band spectrum pool, making it the largest in the country. The acquisition includes renewing spectrum set to expire in 2024, ensuring continued and improved service delivery.

Further, Bharti Hexacom Ltd, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, acquired 15 MHz of spectrum for Rs 1,001 crore.

Commenting on the acquisition, Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO of Bharti Airtel, said, “Airtel continues to judiciously acquire the right amount of spectrum to deliver the best possible experience to our customers. In this auction, we have bolstered our sub-giga hertz and mid-band holding which will significantly improve our coverage, especially indoor.”

Earlier this month, Bharti Airtel prepaid Rs 7,904 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), settling all deferred liabilities from spectrum acquired in the 2012 and 2015 auctions. These payments were made to clear liabilities with high-interest rates of 9.75 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Additionally, Bharti Hexacom Ltd, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, acquired 15 MHz of spectrum for Rs 1,001 crore.

Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO of Bharti Airtel, commented on the acquisition, saying, “Airtel continues to judiciously acquire the right amount of spectrum to deliver the best possible experience to our customers. In this auction, we have bolstered our sub-gigahertz and mid-band holdings, which will significantly improve our coverage, especially indoors.”

The government received Rs 11,300 crore in bids over seven rounds in the recently concluded spectrum auction, which fell significantly short of the reserve price of Rs 96,317 crore for the 10,523.15 MHz of spectrum available.

The outcome was quite different from the 2022 auction, which attracted Rs 1.5 trillion, mainly due to the introduction of 5G airwaves.

DoT officials said that Bharti Airtel emerged as the largest overall bidder, primarily due to its need to renew spectrum in the 900 MHz band across multiple telecom circles.

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