Bharti Airtel sold a total of 7.50 megahertz of spectrum in the 800 megahertz band to Reliance Jio for Rs 1,497 crore on Tuesday. The spectrum was transferred from Bharti to Jio under the spectrum trading guidelines, which provide for such sales after clearing all statutory government dues or assigning liability for deferred instalment payments.
The deal makes sense for both parties because Bharti’s 800 Mhz spectrum was unused and in limited quantities, and its 4G network in the circles is largely based on the 900 Mhz spectrum. Jio purchased the spectrum because its 4G network is largely based on 800 Mhz spectrum, and it now has a contiguous spectrum in this band in the affected circles, bolstering its portfolio.
Bharti had acquired the 800 MHz spectrum when it bought Tata Teleservices’ wireless company. In Andhra Pradesh, Bharti sold 3.75 Mhz, 1.25 Mhz in Delhi, and 2.50 Mhz in Mumbai. Jio will pay Rs 1,037.6 crore for the planned move, and Jio will also take on potential spectrum liabilities worth Rs 459 crore. This is the country’s first spectrum sharing agreement between the country’s two largest mobile operators.
Jio will now have 2X15 MHz of spectrum in the 800 MHz band in the Mumbai circle, and 2X10 MHz in the 800 MHz band in the Andhra Pradesh and Delhi circles, according to the company. The agreement is subject to regulatory approval.
“By selling the 800 MHz blocks in these three circles, we were able to unlock value from the previously unutilized spectrum,” said Gopal Vittal, MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel. This is consistent with the overall approach of our network.”