New Delhi [India]: Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Wednesday said it has paid Rs 8,312.4 crores to the Department of Telecom in upfront towards dues for spectrum acquired in the recently concluded 5G auctions.
Airtel has paid dues for 4 years ahead of schedule, the company said in a statement.
“The company believes that this upfront payment coupled with the moratorium on spectrum dues and AGR-related payments for four years will free up future cash flows and allow Airtel to dedicate resources to single-mindedly concentrate on the 5G roll out,” the statement added.
Over the past one year, Airtel has cleared Rs 24,333.7 crores of its deferred spectrum liabilities “much ahead” of scheduled maturities, it said.
Telecom operator Bharti Airtel recently said it will start rolling out 5G services later this month.
“This upfront payment of 4 years allows us to drive 5G rollout in a concerted manner given our operating free cash flow. Airtel also has access to Rs 15,740.5 Cr in capital from the rights issue which is yet to be called. With the ideal spectrum bank, best technology and adequate free cash flow, we are excited to bring to the country a world-class 5G experience,” said Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Bharti Airtel.
After 40 rounds and 7 straight days of bidding, the highly-anticipated 5G spectrum auction concluded on August 1, fetching over Rs 1.50 trillion, higher than the government’s expectations.
Reliance Jio, Adani group, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea were the four major participants in the spectrum auction.
Allocation of spectrums to the telecom operators is expected anytime now, and the initial 5G services in the country are expected to start later this year in several Indian cities.