Airtel to focus on both TD-LTE and FD-LTE after purchasing spectrum for Rs 29,130 crore

Bharti Airtel has purchased 111.6 MHz of spectrum across 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands for Rs 29,130 crore during the March 2015 spectrum auction.

For comparison, Vodafone India acquired spectrum for Rs 25,810 crore. It would focus on expanding its 3G services. Vodafone does not have a 4G presence in India. This means, it needs to rely on 3G for data revenue. On the other hand, Airtel would focus on TD-LTE and FD-LTE technologies to spruce up 4G coverage.

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Airtel said that out of Rs 29,130 crore invested for spectrum, India’s leading telecom operator spent Rs 17,618 crore for renewing existing spectrum while it purchased new spectrum for the balance Rs 11,512 crore. Both Airtel and Vodafone said their strategy to focus on data growth.

Gopal Vittal, CEO, Airtel India

The Sunil Mittal-promoted Bharti Airtel renewed all its spectrum in the 900 MHz in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and North East circles. It has acquired additional spectrum in the 900 MHz band in circles of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, North East, Assam, Bihar and Orissa.

Bharti Airtel has also acquired 1800 MHz spectrum across Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Kolkata, Orissa, Haryana and North East. The company has added to its spectrum in the 2100 MHz band by acquiring fresh spectrum in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh (East), Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Tamil Nadu circles.

The company claims that it will be able to offer pan India 4G services using a combination of FD-LTE technology in the 1800 MHz band and TD-LTE roll-out in the 2300 MHz band. It will also be able to offer 3G across all markets with the exception of Kerala using a combination of 900 MHz and 2100 MHz.

“The auction design and the scarcity of spectrum have resulted in exorbitant bids to secure the spectrum, particularly in renewal circles, where huge investments have already been made on the assurance of a continuity of business enshrined in the licenses issued by the DoT,” said Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO – India & South Asia, Bharti Airtel.

Baburajan K
[email protected]