Bharti Airtel concludes spectrum trading agreement with Jio

Indian telecoms provider Bharti Airtel announced on Friday the closure of its spectrum trading agreement with its local rival Reliance Jio to transfer the “Right to Use” of Airtel’s 800 MHz spectrum in three circles to Jio. 

Airtel had announced earlier in April the trading agreement without disclosing its financial details.  

However, Indian media reports revealed on Friday that Airtel received $135.5 million net of tax from Jio for the proposed transfer. Additionally, Jio will assume future liabilities of about $63.3 million relating to the spectrum. 

According to the deal, the areas involved are Andhra Pradesh (3.75MHz), Delhi (1.25MHz), and Mumbai (2.50MHz). 

The lower spectrum bands like 800 MHz and 900 MHz provide greater indoor coverage, while bands like 2300 MHz or higher frequency bands have superior transmission capability.  

This was the first deal between two giant telecoms in India, that is said to benefit both parties. 

“The sale of the 800 MHz blocks in these three circles has enabled us to unlock value from spectrum that was unutilized. This is aligned to our overall network strategy,” said Gopal Vittal, CEO of India and South Asia Bharti Airtel in a statement. 

Notably, this agreement comes amid Vodafone Idea’s (VI) financial crisis, as the telco is battling bankruptcy. Indian sources warned last week that Vi 2G subscribers would be the most affected if the company ceases to exist in the market. 

Experts close to the matter suggest that Jio and Airtel could save their fellow competitor subscribers through providing reviving alternative options.