5G auctions: Bharti Airtel pays Rs 8,312 cr to DoT as spectrum payment
Telecom behemoth Bharti Airtel today said that it has paid Rs 8,312.4 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) as part of the spectrum payment for the 5G auctions. It is to be noted that Airtel purchased spectrum worth Rs 43,084 crore in several frequency bands during the auctions.
Since last year, Airtel has paid Rs 24,333.7 crore, which is part of its deferred spectrum liabilities, much ahead of scheduled maturities, the company said in a statement.
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According to reports, Reliance Jio has also paid its first installment of Rs 7,864 crore, while Vodafone is in the process of paying its first part of Rs 1,679 crore. Besides, Adani Data Networks has also paid Rs 18.94 crore for the 5G auctions.
In a statement, Bharti Airtel said that it has paid an additional amount as an upfront payment to the DoT for the next four years.
It added that the upfront payment, coupled with the relief measures that the DoT provided in 2021, will help the company in freeing up future cash flows.
Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel Ltd, said: “The upfront payment will allow us to drive 5G rollout in a concerted manner. Airtel also has access to Rs 15,740.5 crore in capital from the rights issue, which is yet to be called.”
He added that with the help of the ideal spectrum bank, best technology, and adequate free cash flow, the company will be able to offer a world-class 5G experience.
The telecom major was the second highest bidder in the 5G auctions, while Reliance Jio was the top bidder with 24,740 MHz spectrum worth Rs 88,078 crore.
Vittal had previously said that the company would roll out 5G services by August end, and has tied with companies such as Samsung, Nokia, and Ericsson for the same.
He had added that Airtel has extensive plans to cover all the towns and cities, including rural areas, in the next two years.
Network and pricing
As per reports, Airtel will first cover 13 cities in the first phase. These cities are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Gandhinagar, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Jamnagar, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Pune. The pricing, for now, is expected to be similar to 4G prepaid plans.
According to the company website, Bharti Airtel, which is one of the top mobile operators globally, has over 497 million customers in 17 countries, including India and South Asia.
The shares of the company were trading at Rs 720, up by 2.27 per cent, at around 1.45 PM on August 17. Its consolidated net profit stood at Rs 1,606.9 crore in Q1 FY23 as compared to Rs 283.5 crore in Q1 FY22.