Telecom operator Bharti Airtel has paid Rs 8,312.4 crore to the Department of Telecom towards dues for spectrum acquired in the recently concluded 5G auctions, the company said on Wednesday.
With the payment, Airtel has paid four years of 2022 spectrum dues upfront. Airtel said it believes that this upfront payment, coupled with the moratorium on spectrum dues and AGR (adjusted gross revenue)-related payments for four years, will free up future cash flows and allow Airtel to dedicate resources to single-mindedly concentrate on the 5G rollout. Telecom tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Bharti Airtel made a successful bid of Rs 43,039.63 crore.
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“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 crore 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,” Bharti Airtel MD and CEO Gopal Vittal said in the statement.
The company had an option to pay Rs 3,848.88 crore upfront and the rest in 19 annual instalments. The country’s biggest ever auction of telecom spectrum received a record Rs 1.5 lakh crore worth of bids, with Mukesh Ambani’s Jio cornering nearly half of all the airwaves sold with Rs 87,946.93 crore bid. Over the last one year, Airtel said it has also cleared Rs 24,333.7 crore of its deferred spectrum liabilities much ahead of scheduled maturities.