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Airtel acquires spectrum worth Rs 18,699 cr in auction

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Tuesday said it has acquired radiowaves worth Rs 18,699 crore in the latest spectrum auction.

The telco has acquired 355.45 MHz spectrum across Sub GHz, mid band and 2300 MHz bands, giving it “most formidable” spectrum holding in the country, Airtel said in a statement.

All of the spectrum will enable Airtel to deliver 5G services in future, it added.

“Airtel…has acquired 355.45 MHz spectrum across Sub GHz, mid band and 2300 MHz bands for a total consideration of Rs 18,699 crore in the latest spectrum auction conducted by the Department of Telecom,” the company said.

Airtel has now secured pan-India foot print of Sub GHz spectrum that will help improve its deep indoor and in building coverage in every urban town. Moreover, the spectrum will also help improve its coverage in villages, the statement noted.

Airtel pointed out that despite the large amount of spectrum made available, the 700 MHz band did not get any bid from the operators as it made “no economic case” for them due to the high reserve prices.

“The 700 MHz band coupled with the 3.5 GHz band has the potential to accelerate India’s progress to the top league of digitally enabled nations. Therefore, the reserve pricing of these bands must be addressed on priority in future,” Airtel said.

Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, the company now has a “solid spectrum portfolio that will enable it to continue delivering the best mobile broadband experience in India”.

“We are most excited at bringing the power of Airtel services to an additional 90 million customers in India through the power of our pan-India Sub GHz footprint,” Vittal added.

Spectrum auctions — that put on offer a total of 2308.80 MHz of spectrum worth Rs 4 lakh crore in seven bands — concluded on Tuesday, the second day of bidding.

On Monday, the opening day, bids worth Rs 77,146 crore had come in with Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea participating in the bidding process – a response that the government had said was better than expected.

There were, however, no takers for spectrum in the 700 MHz and 2500 MHz bands on the first day.

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