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Airtel acquires $820 million in spectrum in dismal auction

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Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS), opens new tab paid 68.57 billion rupees ($820.80 million), the highest among its peers, to buy telecom spectrum in a government auction that closed on Wednesday, despite their total bids being much below the limit.
Telecom businesses bid 113.40 billion rupees for 141 megahertz (MHz) of airwaves, substantially lower than the 962.38 billion rupees offered, as predicted because they were mostly renewing or strengthening existing holdings.

Bharti Airtel, the second-largest smartphone and telecom provider by users, purchased 97 MHz airwaves expiring this year and added spectrum to its mid-band portfolio for 5G connectivity.

Since the 5G spectrum was auctioned for the first time in 2022, this year’s auction was anticipated to be less than the prior one, which sold 51.2 GHz of radio frequencies for a record 1.5 trillion rupees.
“As auction for 5G spectrum was held recently and 5G monetization is still in progress, no bidding took place in 800MHz, 2300MHz, 3300MHz, and 26GHz bands,” the telecom agency stated Wednesday.

“We are looking at hopefully an aggressive rollout … as that builds out, probably demand for spectrum in the 5G bands will also increase once the current amount of spectrum saturates,” a source told Reuters.
This year’s auction, postponed twice, sold 10GHz of airwaves between 800 MHz and 26 gigahertz (GHz).

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