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Airtel earmarks ₹1.17 lakh crore to beef up 5G operations

Airtel earmarks ₹1.17 lakh crore to beef up 5G operations
Photo Credit: Mint
7 Feb, 2022
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Bharti Airtel has revealed that it will be investing 1.17 lakh crore in capital expenditure and related expenses to boost its 5G operations, it said in a regulatory filing

The investments would be made through Bharti Airtel’s subsidiaries — Bharti Hexacom, Indus Towers and Nxtra — over the next four to five years.  

“India is on a crucial stage of readiness towards 5G roll-outs, which presents an opportunity to propel India to the next generation of digital connectivity and deliver significant social and economic benefits. Deploying 5G networks in India will require capital-intensive investments including sufficient spectrum, tower infrastructure and fibre etc.,” the telecom major said in its regulatory filing to National Stock Exchange (NSE).

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Out of the total outlay of 1.17 lakh crore, the Indian multinational telecommunications services company will spend 88,000 crore in its mobile tower company business Indus Towers, 15,000 crore in data centre services entity Nxtra, and the remaining 14,000 crore in transactions with Bharti Hexacom (offers cellular mobile, broadband, and telephone services), it said in the filing. 

The transactions are proposed to be undertaken during the duration/ tenure of FY 2021- 22 to FY 2025-26, such that the monetary value of such transactions, individually or taken together, does not exceed 17,000 crore per annum for each of the FY 2021-22, FY 2022-23, FY2023-24 and FY2024-25 and 20,000 crore per annum for FY2025-26, Airtel said.

“Given the 5G developments globally, it is likely that 5G will soon start to become a reality in India also, slowly in the key cities and then going into the rest of India across the length and breadth of our current network. Therefore, considering the increased requirements of passive infrastructure during massive 5G rollouts, the company is proposing a higher amount of transactions of up to 20,000 crore per annum with Indus Towers for FY2025-26,” it said.

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Airtel will hold an extraordinary general meeting on February 26 to seek shareholders’ approval for issuing shares to Google worth 7,500 crore of investment in the company to buy a 1.28% stake.