Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), the India’s largest telecommunications services providers, has acquired 173.8 Mhz spectrum across 1800/2100/2300 MHz bands for a total consideration of INR 14,244 crore in the latest spectrum auction conducted by the Department of Telecom, Government of India.
Airtel has further strengthened its pan-India spectrum portfolio and secured its spectrum requirements for the next 20 years. The Company now has 4G and 3G spectrum in all circles, giving it the widest mobile broadband footprint across the country.
It already has 2G spectrum in all circles. Over the past six years, the Company has acquired spectrum worth appx. Rs 100,000 cr through auctions and trading.
Through strategic buying, in the latest auction, Airtel has built new 4G/3G capabilities in 7 circles. The Company has spent Rs. 10,340 cr towards enhancing data capacities in 15 circles. It has also spent Rs 321 cr towards completing some of the existing partial blocks in 4 circles, giving it a second Carrier for its future needs.
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.
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, “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.”
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.