Airtel preps for 5G with spectrum fee prepayment - Mobile World Live

Airtel preps for 5G with spectrum fee prepayment

18 AUG 2022

Indian operator Bharti Airtel again prepaid spectrum dues to the Department of Telecom (DoT), paying INR83.1 billion ($1 billion) for airwaves acquired in a recent 5G auction to allow it to dedicate resources for its next-generation network rollout.

In a statement, Airtel explained it paid four years of 2022 spectrum fees upfront, noting this coupled with a moratorium on dues and adjusted gross revenue related payments for four years will free up future cash flows.

Airtel committed $5.4 billion for 19800MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands.

MD and CEO Gopal Vittal added the payment will allow it to drive its 5G rollout in “a concerted manner given our operating free cash flow”.

He stated the company has access to INR157.4 billion in capital from a planned rights issue.

Following DoT reforms giving operators the flexibility to prepay their spectrum liabilities at any time, Airtel stumped up INR243.3 billion between December 2021 and March for previous auction wins.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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