Department of Telecom Said to Receive Rs. 17,876 Crore From Operators as Upfront Payment for 5G Spectrum

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The Department of Telecom (DoT) has received upfront payment of around Rs 17,876 crore from Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, Adani Data Networks and Vodafone Idea for spectrum they won in a recent auction, according to sources. While all telecom operators have opted to make payments in 20 annual installments, Bharti Airtel has paid Rs 8,312.4 crore equivalent to four annual installments.

Reliance Jio has made payment of Rs. 7,864.78 crore, Vodafone Idea Rs. 1,679.98 crore and Adani Data Networks Rs. 18.94 crore.

“DoT has received a total payment of around Rs. 17,876 crore. Only Bharti Airtel has paid for four annual installments at one go,” an official source said.

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 airwaves sold with a Rs. 87,946.93 crore bid.

Gautam Adani’s group has placed bids worth Rs 211.86 crore for the 400 MHz in a band that is not used for offering public telephony services.

Telecom tycoon Sunil Bharti Mittal’s Bharti Airtel made a successful bid of Rs. 43,039.63 crore, while Vodafone Idea Ltd bought spectrum for Rs. 18,786.25 crore.

On Wednesday, telecom operator Airtel announced that it had paid Rs. 8,312.4 crore to the Department of Telecom towards dues for spectrum acquired in the recently concluded 5G auctions.

With the payment, Airtel has paid four years of 2022 spectrum dues upfront. The company had an option to pay Rs. 3,848.88 crore upfront and the rest in 19 annual instalments.

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.

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