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Reliance Jio spends ₹57,100 crore at Indian spectrum auction

By comparison, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea each spent ₹18,700 crore and ₹1,990 crore, respectively.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Reliance Jio has picked up almost 490MHz worth of spectrum for ₹57,100 crore at India's most recent spectrum auction, which closed on Tuesday.

Of that amount, the telco will pay almost ₹19,940 crore upfront to the Indian government, with the remainder to be paid over an 18-year period.  

Conducted over four rounds, the auction made a total 2,251MHz of spectrum available, with Reliance Jio buying up spectrum across the frequency bands of 800MHz, 1,800MHz, and 2,300MHz.

In total, Reliance Jio's expenditure amounted to ₹60.8 crore per MHz, the telco said.

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said the additional spectrum would help the telco expand India's digital footprint and prepare for its 5G rollout, which he previously declared would be ready later this year.

See also: Reliance doubles equity stake of magnetic levitation transportation startup skyTran

Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea also participated in the auction, each spending ₹18,700 crore and ₹1,990 crore, respectively. With those amounts, Bharti Airtel acquired 355.45MHz of spectrum across sub-GHz, 1,800MHz, and 2,300MHz bands while Vodafone added 11.8MHz across five different bands.

Vodafone Idea said it entered the auction holding the largest quantity of spectrum and only spent money on spectrum that was coming up for renewal.

By comparison, Bharti said the additional spectrum would help it serve millions of users and expand 4G coverage. It added that sub-GHz spectrum would improve its deep indoor coverage and its mid-band acquisitions would put it in a position to provide 5G.

Reliance Jio's decision to be the biggest spenders at the auction comes shortly after its holding company, Jio Platforms, reported ₹22,858 crore in revenue during the quarter to December, which was a 30% improvement from the year prior.

Last year, Jio Platforms sold a third of itself to others for ₹152,056 crore. Buyers included Google, Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, General Atlantic, KKR, Mubadala, ADIA, TPG, L Catterton, PIF, Intel Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures.


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