Reliance Jio to shell out Rs 57,000 cr, acquires telecom spectrum in all 22 circles to boost capacity

by Joseph K. Clark

Through this acquisition, RJIL’s total owned spectrum footprint has increased significantly by 55 percent. On Tuesday, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL) said it has acquired the right to use spectrum in all 22 circles across India in the latest spectrum auction. The company will pay Rs 57,123 crore for the right to use the technology-agnostic range for 20 years. “With our increased spectrum footprint, we are ready to further expand the digital footprint in India as well as get ourselves ready for the imminent 5G rollout,” said Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries, in a statement.

Reliance Jio

RJIL said that the company has a well-balanced spectrum for LTE Services and future upgradation to 5G Technology. The company’s total owned spectrum footprint, following the latest acquisition, grew by 55 percent to 1,717 MHz (uplink+ downlink) even as it has the highest amount of sub-GHz spectrum with 2X10 MHz contiguous spectrum in most circles. RJIL also has at least 2X10 MHz in the 1800 MHz band and 40 MHz in the 2300 MHz band in 22 circles.

“RJIL has achieved complete spectrum derisking, with an average life of owned spectrum of 15.5 years,” the company said, adding that its spectrum has been acquired in the most cost-efficient manner at Rs 60.8 crore per MHz. The new range has enhanced RJIL’s network capacity to service its existing users along with hundreds of millions of more subscribers on its network. RJIL can quickly use the acquired spectrum to transition to 5G services, where Jio has developed its own 5G stack.

“Jio has revolutionized the digital landscape of India, with the country becoming the fastest adopter of Digital Life. We want to ensure that we keep on enhancing experiences, not only for our existing customers but also for the next 300 million users that will move to digital services,” said Mukesh Ambani. RJIL will make an upfront payment of Rs 19,939 crore (Rs 8,623 crore for 800 MHz, Rs 6,231 crore for 1800 MHz, and Rs 5,085 crore for 2,300 MHz) and the rest Rs 37,184 (Rs 25,868 for 800 MHz, Rs 6,231 for 1800 MHz, and Rs 5,085 for 2300 MHz) in deferred payment.

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RJIL said that the deferred payments will be made over the 18 years (two years of the moratorium and 16-year repayment period), with an interest of 7.3 percent per annum, as per the terms of the spectrum auction. On Tuesday, the first spectrum auction in five years in the country ended with Rs 77,814.80 crore of airwaves purchased, mainly by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio, PTI reported. More than 2,250 MHz of spectrum across seven bands worth close to Rs 4 lakh crore was auctioned at the reserve or starting price.

On the other hand, telecom operator Bharti Airtel had purchased 355.45 MHz spectrum across Sub GHz, mid-band, and 2300 MHz bands worth Rs 18,699 crore. Airtel said that it has secured Pan India’s footprint of sub GHz spectrum that will “help improve its deep indoor and in-building coverage in every urban town. In addition, this precious spectrum will also help improve its coverage in villages by offering the superior Airtel experience to an additional 90 million customers in India,” a company statement noted. Vodafone India had also acquired 11.8 Mhz spectrum worth Rs 1,993 crore in five circles to enhance its 4G coverage and capacity and offer ‘superior digital experience’ for customers, the company said in a statement.

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