Indian operator Bharti Airtel again prepaid spectrum dues to the Department of Telecom (DoT), paying INR83.1 billion ($1 billion) for airwaves acquired in a recent 5G auction to allow it to dedicate resources for its next-generation network rollout.

In a statement, Airtel explained it paid four years of 2022 spectrum fees upfront, noting this coupled with a moratorium on dues and adjusted gross revenue related payments for four years will free up future cash flows.

Airtel committed $5.4 billion for 19800MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands.

MD and CEO Gopal Vittal added the payment will allow it to drive its 5G rollout in “a concerted manner given our operating free cash flow”.

He stated the company has access to INR157.4 billion in capital from a planned rights issue.

Following DoT reforms giving operators the flexibility to prepay their spectrum liabilities at any time, Airtel stumped up INR243.3 billion between December 2021 and March for previous auction wins.

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