Airtel pays INR 8312.4 crore for 5G spectrum

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Airtel pays INR 8312.4 crore for 5G spectrum
Airtel pays INR 8312.4 crore for 5G spectrum

Airtel said, to single-mindedly concentrate on the 5G roll out, it believes that this upfront payment coupled with the moratorium on spectrum dues and AGR related payments for four years will free up future cash flows and allow it to dedicate resources

Bharti Airtel, towards dues for spectrum acquired in the recently concluded 5G auctions, has paid INR 8312.4 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). Paying four years of the 2022 spectrum dues upfront, Airtel has taken up the option to pay more upfront amount as against 20 equal annual instalments.

Airtel said, to single-mindedly concentrate on the 5G roll out, it believes that this upfront payment coupled with the moratorium on spectrum dues and AGR related payments for four years will free up future cash flows and allow it to dedicate resources.

Apart from Airtel, Reliance Jio is believed to have paid its first installment of INR 7864 crore while Adani Data Networks has paid INR 18.94 crore. Vodafone Idea too is in process of paying its first instalment of INR 1,679 crore as the first instalment.

Speaking about the pre-payment of dues, Gopal Vittal MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel said, “This upfront payment of four years allows us to drive 5G rollout in a concerted manner given our operating free cash flow. Airtel also has access to INR 15,740.5 crore in capital from the rights issue which is yet to be called. With the ideal spectrum bank, best technology and adequate free cash flow, we are excited to bring to the country a world class 5G experience.”

To pay up their spectrum payments in 10 days, the DoT on August 5 had issued demand notices to all the four companies.

The telcos have been given the option to pay in 20 equal annual instalments. They can also choose to pay the entire amount or part of it upfront. Such part payment would be for at least two years or more.

Over the last one year, it has also cleared INR 24,333.7 crore of its deferred spectrum liabilities much ahead of scheduled maturities, Airtel said in its statement.

While Airtel and Vodafone Idea bought airwaves worth INR 43,084 crore and INR 18,799 crore, respectively, in the 5G airwave auctions that ended on Monday, spending INR 88,078 crore, market leader Jio was the largest bidder.

The Centre netted INR 150,173 crore from the sale of 51,236 MHz in the seven-day auction. In all, it had put 72,098 MHz of airwaves on sale.

The government expects 5G services to be rolled out in phases from September-October with pan-India coverage to be completed in two-three years, backed by investments of about INR 2-3 lakh crore.

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