During the much-anticipated Spectrum Auction which concluded on 1st March, Bharti Airtel has bought spectrum frequencies worth Rs. 18,699 Crores. It was the second largest buyer in the market behind Reliance Jio, who were dominant in the auction.
Airtel at the Spectrum Auction
The telecom operator said in a statement that it was successful in “securing Pan India coverage”. Adding to that, it also noted that this will help better its “deep indoor and in building coverage”, providing better quality to over 90 million customers. In addition, the Sunil Mittal-led telco also sought to improve its rural coverage by offering “superior Airtel experience”.
The company bought spectrum 48.85 MHz of the sub-GHz bands in the 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands for INR 9,457 crores, 86.6 MHz of mid-band spectrum in the 1800 MHz and 2.1 GHz bands for INR 6,172 Crore and 220 MHz of capacity spectrum in the 2300 MHz band for Rs3,070 crore.
The telecom operator seeks to set the stage for its 5G launch by adding bulk to its mid-range spectrum. Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel quoted that it now has a “solid spectrum portfolio that will enable it to continue delivering the best mobile broadband experience in India”.
Airtel also did not touch the 700 MHz spectrum, stating that the price was too high and it did not make economic sense. Naturally, this spectrum will be much more lucrative over the coming few months when 5G spectrum auction will be held. This ensures that the said frequency band has gone unsold again even after half a decade of wait between auctions.