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TABLE: Bharti Airtel’s purchases in spectrum auction 2016 results

Bharti Airtel said that it has acquired 173.8 Mhz spectrum across 1800/2100/2300 MHz bands for a total consideration of Rs 14,244 cr in the latest spectrum auction conducted by the Department of Telecom, Government of India.

The company has acquired most of its new spectrum in the crucial 2.3 GHz 4G band, and some of it in the 1.8 GHz 4G band.

See the list below for full details.


CirclesBandMhzRs. Cr.
3G, 4G FD/TD LTE New Capability 
Jammu & Kashmir18002.431
Himachal Pradesh230010.010
3G/4G FD/TD LTE Additional Carrier
North East230010.010
Andhra Pradesh230010.0683
West Bengal230010.050
Tamil Nadu230010.01320
Jammu & Kashmir21005.055
4G FD LTE Future Additional Carrier
North East18001.415

In the above table, 5 MHz in 1800 band implies 5 MHz of uplink (upload) and 5 MHz of downlink (download) spectrum. In case of 2.3 GHz band, there is only one chunk that can be used for both upload and download. In other words, in 2300 MHz band, 10 MHz means just that. In areas where Airtel already has 20 MHz of 2.3 GHz spectrum, the additional purchase would take its total airwaves to 30 MHz in all.

In many areas where the company has acquired 1800 MHz airwaves, it will be used to supplement its existing quantum. In this band, one carrier is 5 MHz in size, and extra purchases help the company launch 4G using 2 carriers.

Other operators have not yet made the data of their purchase public. We expect their statements to come in the next few minutes.

Airtel has further strengthened its pan-India spectrum portfolio and secured its spectrum requirements for the next 20 years. The Company now has 4G and 3G spectrum in all circles, giving it the widest mobile broadband footprint across the country. It already has 2G spectrum in all circles. Over the past six years, the Company has acquired spectrum worth appx. Rs 100,000 cr through auctions and trading.

Through strategic buying, in the latest auction, Airtel has built new 4G/3G capabilities in 7 circles, it said.

The Company has spent Rs. 10,340 cr towards enhancing data capacities in 15 circles. It has also spent Rs 321 cr towards completing some of the existing partial blocks in 4 circles, giving it a second Carrier for its future needs.

Airtel complimented the Department of Telecom for its progressive policies on spectrum trading and sharing, and the recent initiatives around harmonization of spectrum in various bands.

Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel 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 leading India’s data revolution. We remain fully committed to the Government’s Digital India vision and will continue to invest towards making world-class and affordable data services available to customers in every corner of the country.”

The Company added that despite the large amount of spectrum made available, certain bands did not get any bid from the operators as it made no economic case for them based on the high reserve prices. Three to four national operators with robust 700 Mhz based broadband networks have the potential to accelerate India’s progress to the top league of digitally enabled nations. Therefore, the pricing of the 700 Mhz band spectrum needs to be addressed on priority for the nation to benefit from the digital dividend arising out of this high quality spectrum band.
UPDATE — So far, the following companies have revealed their purchases.

Bharti Airtel 

Reliance Jio

Idea Cellular

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