Telecom Operators Make Upfront Payments For Spectrum Bought In Auctions
Banners for Reliance Jio, top left, and Bharti Airtel hang outside a mobile phone store in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Telecom Operators Make Upfront Payments For Spectrum Bought In Auctions

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Operators Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Vodafone Idea Ltd. have made upfront payments to the telecom department for the spectrum they acquired in the recently-held auctions, industry sources said on Thursday.

The telecom department had issued demand notes to the three operators on March 8, and the deadline for making the upfront payment was Thursday.

The sources privy to the development said that Reliance Jio has made an upfront payment of about Rs 15,019 crore, while Bharti Airtel has paid around Rs 6,323 crore as the immediate upfront amount.

Vodafone Idea has paid about Rs 574 crore, as stipulated, they said.

There was no official word from the companies on the payments made.

The auctions held earlier this month raked-in winning bids of over Rs 77,800 crore for 855.6 MHz of spectrum. Billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio spent the most in the auction, picking up 488.35 MHz spectrum in bands such as 800 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 2,300 MHz for over Rs 57,100 crore.

Bharti Airtel won the right to use spectrum, the total value of which is about Rs 18,700 crore. For Vodafone Idea, the value of spectrum bought in auctions was pegged at Rs 1,993.4 crore.

Also read: How Operators Stack Up After Telecom Spectrum Auction

As per the auction terms, successful bidders could pay the entire bid amount in one go, or exercise an option to pay a certain amount (25% for spectrum won in 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz bands or 50% for spectrum won in 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz, 2,500 MHz bands) upfront with the remaining amount in a maximum up to 16 equated annual instalments, after a moratorium of two years.

It is pertinent to mention here that there were no takers for spectrum in 700 MHz and 2,500 MHz bands in the recent auctions.

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