Airtel, Jio concluded its 800MHz spectrum trade agreement

CIOReviewIndia Team | Friday, 13 August 2021, 08:51 IST

Airtel, Jio concluded its 800MHz spectrum trade agreementBharti Airtel has concluded its trading deal to sell 800 Mhz airwaves in three circles to Reliance Jio, marking the closure of the first ever such deal between the two bitter rivals.

“Airtel has received Rs 1,004.8 crore (net of tax) from Jio for the proposed transfer,” the Sunil Mittal-led telco said in a media statement on Friday. It added that Jio would “assume future liabilities of Rs 469.3 crore relating to the spectrum”.

The trading deal closure gives Jio the right to use Airtel’s 800 Mhz spectrum in the Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Mumbai circles.

Back in April, Airtel had inked a definitive trading deal to sell its 800 Mhz spectrum to Reliance Jio. Airtel had then offered to sell 3.75 Mhz of bandwidth in Andhra Pradesh, 1.25 Mhz in Delhi and 2.5 Mhz in Mumbai, subject to regulatory and statutory approvals.

Closure of the spectrum trading deal reflects the willingness between Jio, the largest telco, and the second largest to work with each other despite the bitter war they have been locked in – in and outside the market - ever since the Mukesh Ambani-owned operator’s entry into the telecom sector in September 2016.

The bandwidth sold by is part of the 178. 5 Mhz of airwaves Airtel had received on buying Tata Group’s consumer mobility business spread between Tata Teleservices and Tata Teleservices Maharashtra nearly five years ago. As part of the merger, Airtel had then acquired Tata Group’s business in 19 telecom circles along with the airwaves in 1800, 2100 and 800 MHz bands.

In the March 2021 sale, Airtel had bought 355.45 Mhz of spectrum for Rs 18,699 crore. For the sub-Ghz bands, it bought a bulk of airwaves in the 900 Mhz band while picking up some 800 Mhz (16 Mhz approx) in four circles.

For Jio, additional spectrum in Mumbai increases its existing holding of 12.5 Mhz to 15 Mhz, and similarly adds to its kitty in Delhi as well as AP. Airtel is not using 800 MHz to provide 2G services which require less than 5 units of the airwaves, so it was of no use to Airtel and will certainly help improve consumer experience for Jio users in the said circles," say industry experts.

In the sub-Ghz category, Jio’s network has been built around the 800 MHz band, most of which was used through a spectrum sharing pact with Reliance Communications and later bought through auctions.

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