Airtel prepays Rs 7,904 cr to clear all spectrum dues

Bharti Bharti Airtel has prepaid ₹7,904 crore to the telecom department, clearing the remaining part of the payment relating to spectrum bought in 2012 and 2015 auctions, a move which will lead to interest cost savings.

This comes after India’s second largest telecom operator prepaid ₹8,325 crore in January 2024, clearing a sizable chunk of the deferred liabilities.

This will help Airtel to save interest costs annually and boost cash flows, as its nationwide 5G rollout nears completion, said analysts.

Bharti Airtel has “prepaid ₹7,904 crore to the Department of Telecom (DoT),” the company said late Friday. “With this, the company has fully prepaid all deferred liabilities pertaining to spectrum acquired in auction of the year 2012 and 2015 which were at an highest interest cost of 9.75% and 10% respectively,” it added.

The Airtel stock ended 0.24% higher at ₹1428.75 on the BSE Friday. The announcement came after market hours.

The deferred liabilities came as part of the four-year moratorium the company had opted for, on spectrum and adjusted gross revenue payments which was estimated to give it around ₹48,000 crore in cash flow relief over the time period, according to brokerage Nomura.This was after the government in September 2021 unveiled a telecom relief package that included the four-year moratorium, sharply reduced bank guarantees, and the option to convert statutory dues into government equity. In July 2023, Airtel prepaid ₹8,024 crore to DoT, after prepaying ₹8,815 crore in March 2022 for airwaves bought in the 2015 auction. In the 2015 sale, Airtel had bought 111.6 MHz of airwaves for ₹29,130.20 crore, of which ₹7,832.58 crore was paid upfront, while in the 2012 auction, Airtel had picked up ₹8.67 crore worth of 2G spectrum.

Before that in December 2021, Airtel had cleared all dues related to spectrum purchases in 2014, by prepaying ₹15,519 crore to the telecom department.


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