Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel Allocated 4G Spectrum Bought in Auctions

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Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel have received the spectrum they bought in the recently held 4G auctions by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). The DoT completed allocating the spectrum to the telcos on April 16, 2021.

For the same, DoT received a total of Rs 2,306.97 crore from the telcos, wherein Jio paid Rs 2,149.59 crore, and Airtel paid Rs 157.38 crore. As per a MoneyControl report, the telcos paid the DoT immediately instead of their scheduled payment time for the same in August-September 2021.

Jio and Airtel Received the 4G Spectrum

The Indian government, in an official statement, said that the telcos have been provided with the spectrum they successfully bid for in the recently held 4G auctions. The government said that the spectrum assignment was done by a ‘frequency harmonisation exercise’, where the telcos are provided with the fresh spectrum by adding it directly to the spectrum blocks they already own in different bands in several licensed service areas (LSAs).

According to the statement, the harmonisation of the spectrum was done in over 19 LSAs in the 800 MHz band, 8 LSAs in the 900 MHz, 21 LSAs in the 1800 MHz band, 3 LSAs in the 2100 MHz band, and 16 LSAs in the 2300 MHz band. The government said that harmonisation of the spectrum leads to more efficient use of the frequencies by the telecom service providers (TSPs).

For the unaware, the 4G spectrum auctions were held on March 1 and March 2, 2021. The DoT had put a total of 2,308.8 MHz of spectrum in several bands for the auctions. The TSPs were seen bidding for airwaves in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, and 2300 MHz bands. There were no takers of the 700 MHz band and the 2500 MHz band due to their high reserve price.

The government is expected to further slash the price of the 700 MHz band and avail it during the 5G spectrum auctions slated for the second half of the year or early next year. The 700 MHz band has been termed ‘crucial’ by the telcos to provide 5G services; thus, the government will have to do something about its reserve price.

Reliance Jio bid the most and purchased spectrum worth Rs 57,122.65 crore. Jio was followed by Bharti Airtel, which spent Rs 18,698.75 crore for acquiring fresh spectrum while Vodafone Idea (Vi) only bid for spectrum worth Rs 1,993.40 crore. Vi said that it already has a strong spectrum portfolio; thus, it doesn’t need to spend a lot of money on it.

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