Shares of Bharti Airtel continued gaining streak for the second straight session on Thursday, rising nearly 2% to hit an over three-month high of ₹735.30 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) after the telecom major paid ₹8,312.4 crore to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for settling 5G spectrum dues ahead of schedule to free up cash for future investments. The stock has gained 4.4% in the last two sessions on spectrum dues payment.

On Thursday, Bharti Airtel share price opened a tad higher at ₹725, against the previous closing price of ₹721.75 on the BSE. During the session so far, the telecom stock rose as much as 1.9% to hit an intraday high of ₹735.3. In contrast, the BSE Sensex was trading 184 points lower at 60,075 levels.

Bharti Airtel shares hit a 52-week high of ₹781.90 on November 24, 2021, and a 52-week low of ₹573.19 on August 26, 2021. The index heavyweight has given a return of 18% to its shareholders in the past one year and 7% in the calendar year 2022. In the last one month, the largecap stock jumped 10.5%, while it rose 3.3% in a week. The market-cap currently stands at ₹4.07 lakh crore.

Billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal-led company on Wednesday paid ₹8,312.4 crore upfront to the telecom department for airwaves acquired in the recently concluded 5G auctions. The telco, which is set to rollout 5G services later this month, has paid dues for 4 years ahead of schedule.

Gopal Vittal MD & CEO, Bharti Airtel Ltd. says the upfront payment of 4 years will allow it to drive 5G rollout in a concerted manner, given its operating free cash flow.

Airtel says it has access to ₹15,740.5 crore in capital from the rights issue, which is yet to be called. "With the ideal spectrum bank, best technology and adequate free cash flow, we are excited to bring to the country a world-class 5G experience," says Vittal.

In the recently-concluded 5G auction, Airtel acquired 19,867.8 MHz spectrum by securing a pan India footprint of 3.5 GHz, 26 GHz bands, and selectively acquired low and mid-band spectrum for around ₹43,040 crore. Airtel says the latest upfront payment, coupled with the moratorium on spectrum dues and AGR-related payments for four years, will free up future cash flows and allow Airtel to dedicate resources to single-mindedly concentrating on the 5G rollout.

The country’s second-largest telecom major has signed 5G network agreements with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung to start 5G deployment from this month only. Both Ericsson and Nokia are connectivity and service management partners of Airtel for a long, while the partnership with Samsung will start this year onwards.

In the country’s biggest ever telecom spectrum auction, the government received record bids of ₹1.5 lakh crore, with Mukesh Ambani's Jio securing nearly half of all the airwaves sold for ₹88,078 crore. Billionaire Gautam Adani’s Adani Group also entered into telecom space and acquired 400 MHz, or less than 1% of all spectrum sold, for ₹212 crore, while Vodafone Idea purchased spectrum for ₹18,799 crore.

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