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Airtel may have to surrender excess spectrum in Mumbai

August 13, 2014 19:21 IST

Bharti Airtel may have to surrender excess spectrum in Mumbai service area as the company has marginally crossed maximum airwaves holding cap in the metro following its acquisition of a 4G company founded by US chip maker Qualcomm.

"The company will have to surrender excess spectrum as per spectrum cap rule within one year of amalgamating Wireless Business Services Private Limited (WBSPL) which has been renamed as Airtel Broadband Services Private Limited," an official source told PTI.

As per spectrum cap rule, a company cannot hold more than 25 per cent of total spectrum assigned to all companies in a circle and over 50 per cent of total spectrum assigned in a particular frequency band.

The source added that as per present situation, the company may need to surrender around 1 Mhz of spectrum for which it will not get any refund or adjustment.

"They will get time of one year to surrender excess spectrum. In between, we expect auction of spectrum again. If allocated spectrum in Mumbai increases, then they may not need to surrender airwaves but if some spectrum remains unsold, then Airtel may need to surrender even more," the source said.

Airtel declined to comment on the matter. The company in Mumbai has been earlier allocated 9.2 Mhz spectrum in 1800 Mhz,widely known as 2G spectrum.

The company is February spectrum acquired additional 6 Mhz in 1800 Mhz band for Rs 1,632 crore (Rs 16.32 billion) and 5 Mhz in 900 Mhz band for Rs 2,815.45 crore (Rs 28.15 billion).

Acquisition of WBSPL brought chunk of 20 Mhz of broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum to company's total holding.

Qualcomm founded WBSPL won block of 20 megahertz of BWA spectrum, that can be used for 4G service, in 2010 auction across 4 telecom circles for Rs 4,912.54 crore (Rs 49.12 billion).

The spectrum block in Mumbai costed WBSPL Rs 2,292.5 crore (Rs 22.92 billion). Airtel announced complete acquisition of WBSPL in October last year for an estimated Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion).

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