Airtel strategies on the acquisition of spectrum for $5.4 bn

Airtel India CEO Gopal Vittal has disclosed strategies behind the acquisition of spectrum for $5.4 billion. Airtel, the #2 telecom operator in India, has emerged as the second largest bidder during the spectrum auction.
Airtel 5G network IndiaAirtel has acquired 19,800 MHz spectrum in 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands and some mid-band spectrum for Rs 43,084 crore ($5.4 billion) during the latest spectrum auction in India.


First, the spectrum acquisition has enabled Airtel to reduce the payout towards spectrum usage charge (SUC) and eliminate the adverse SUC arbitrage compared to new entrants, Airtel India said in a news statement.

Second, Airtel has added the largest pool of low and mid band spectrum (Sub GHz/1800/2100/2300 bands) which can be used to provide the best 5G coverage while massive capacities in the 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz bands will allow Airtel to create 100X capacities at the least cost.

Third, this well thought out strategy for spectrum acquisition through auctions, M&A and trading has allowed Airtel to avoid the need for adding an expensive sub GHz band.

Fifth, this enables Airtel to meet all its objectives – the best 5G experience, 100x capacity enhancement and the most power-efficient solutions that will go towards meeting the ambitious ESG goals of the company.

Sixth, this investment will provide Airtel an competitive advantage for years to come in delivering the lowest total cost of ownership.

Airtel now plans to launch 5G services in every part of the country starting with key cities. The company believes that its higher-quality customer base will adopt 5G devices at a rapid pace in the country. In addition, Airtel’s strong presence in the Enterprise segment will allow for a slew of industrial use cases further strengthening Airtel’s leadership in the B2B market.

Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO of Bharti Airtel said: “This spectrum acquisition at the latest auction has been a part of a deliberate strategy to buy the best spectrum assets at a substantially lower relative cost compared to our competition. This will allow us to raise the bar on innovation and address the emerging needs of every discerning customer who demands the best experience in India.”