Bharti Airtel Prepares for the Government’s Auction of Airwaves
By: Ashwathy Nair
- The govt. offered 2,251 MHz airwaves in the auction hoping to fetch ₹3.92 trillion.
- Airtel demonstrated Live 5G service over a commercial network.
- Airtel customers will be getting full 5G experience when the spectrum is available.
On Thursday, the managing director and chief executive officer of the company stated that Bharti Airtel is aiming at strengthening its telecom network as it is preparing itself for the government’s auction of airwaves in March.
In the post-earnings call of the company, Gopal Vittal stated that “It would be good to have a full footprint of sub gigahertz spectrum in the country… would be looking at the capacity, which is expanding spectrum portfolio and renewal of licenses in the upcoming auctions.”
In the auction, the government offered 2,251 megahertz (MHz) airwaves and is aiming to receive ₹3.92 trillion. It has shut out the coveted 5G spectrum. In October 2016, the last spectrum auction was held and the government won ₹65,789 crores.
Bharti Airtel has recently demonstrated Live 5G service over a commercial network in Hyderabad using its existing liberalized spectrum in the 1800 MHz band. It was stated by Airtel that its customers will be getting full 5G experience when the spectrum is available and government approval is received.
Adding to the fact that there will be more shipments for 5G in the next 12 months. Mittal who manages India, as well as South Asia, stated that “The 5G environment is still in the budding stage, but it is improving as 4-5 per cent of the shipment was contributed by the 5G activated devices in December as compared to zero in September.”
On Wednesday, Bharti Airtel bounced back by posting a net profit of ₹854 crores after six years, primarily driven by a robust addition to its user base for the third quarter ended 31st December 2020.
The company’s total revenues stood at ₹26,518 crore, up 24.2 per cent from last year. A year earlier, the company’s sales were ₹21344 crores. The sales increased largely due to higher customer addition and higher data usage.
As per the official statement, compared to the previous year, 4G data customers amplified by 33.8 per cent YoY to 165.6 Million. Over the last 4 quarters, the company has added 42 million 4G customers to its network.
With the highest ever customer additions of 215,000 during the quarter to hit a total base of 2.79 million, the home business segment experienced a sales growth of 2.3 per cent YoY. To boost penetration, we re-calibrated our service and launched Xstream packages with content and limitless Internet. In order to broaden its presence in non-wired cities, the company started to scale up the LCO collaboration model, expanding the model to over 120 cities.
The net debt-to-EBITDA ratio (annualised) is 3.03 times as opposed to 3.40 times as of 31 December 2019, considering the effect of leases as of 31 December 2020. The Net Debt-EBITDA ratio (annualised) is 2.52 times as at December 31, 2020, except pending Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) dues, the official statement said.
The company’s existing net debt stands at ₹1.25 trillion.
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