Bharti Airtel on Tuesday said it has acquired 355.45 Megahertz (MHz) of airwaves for Rs 18,699 crore in the telecom spectrum auction conducted by the government.
The newly acquired airwaves give Airtel the most formidable spectrum holdings in the country and will help improve its coverage in villages by offering a superior experience to an additional 90 million customers in India, the company said in a release.
Airtel said it has acquired 355.45 MHz spectrum across Sub GHz, mid band and 2,300 MHz bands for a total consideration of Rs 18,699 crore. "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," it said.
Through this auction, Airtel has also 'decisively' strengthened its mid band and capacity spectrum holdings that will help it provide an exceptional customer experience at marginal capex. All of the spectrum will enable the company to deliver 5G services in future.
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 based on the high reserve prices, the company said, adding that 700 MHz band coupled with 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. This will help the nation to benefit from the digital dividend that will inevitably arise out of this," Airtel said.
Airtel's India and South Asia MD and CEO Gopal Vittal 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 delivering the best mobile broadband experience in India."
The government had received bids of Rs 77,146 crore on the first day of spectrum auction for fourth-generation (4G) mobile network on Monday. A total of 2,308.80 MHz of telecom waves in seven frequency bands -- 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz, were put up for auction.
Besides Airtel, Vodafone Idea Ltd and Reliance Jio Infocomm also participated in the auction.