Of the Rs 29,129 crores Bharti Airtel spent on spectrum acquisition during the recently concluded auction, 57% was for additional spectrum, said Bharti Airtel's Global CFO Srikanth Balachandran during the company's Q4-FY15 earnings conference call. The remaining 43% was spent on acquiring spectrum in the 6 circles up for renewal in 2015-16. He added that "Kerala is the only circle without our own 3G spectrum but that is covered by both FD and TD-LTE spectrum." Balachandran also addressed certain concerns Airtel has regarding investment on spectrum vs revenue generation. He said that "this auction (March 2015 auction) has been defining in many ways. It paves the way for increased certainty and stability over the next 20 years. At this stage one must take stock of the economic realities of the telecom sector. Since 2010 operators have sunk $50 billion just on spectrum. As Internet penetration moves up month-on-month, operators are also continuously investing in network. Hence, revenue development accompanied by cash generation is the only way forward for sustained investments in the sector, which we believe can be sustained by top players thereby further consolidating market in favor of top players. In the auctions Airtel not only renewed its spectrum but also acquired more across bands to augment voice and data delivery." He added that this will "allow us (Airtel) to fully participate in the data story going forward, reduce dependency on ICR arrangements, and (develop) a more cost optimized network." Airtel acquired 111.6 MHz spectrum during the auction: 60.20 MHz in…
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