Bankrupt teleco Aircel currently hold spectrum holdings in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2100 MHz frequency bands. The spectrum holdings in the 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz frequency bands are the most prized ones in Aircel’s kitty. The company’s asset monetisation strategy largely hinged on these airwaves which was punctured by NCLAT’s order in April 2021 stating that spectrum cannot be utilized without the payment of requisite dues that can’t be waived off by triggering CIRP under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
Let us take a look at the spectrum holdings currently in Aircel’s kitty and the gross value of the remaining spectrum taking into the account the price discovered for respective frequency bands in 2021 Auction.
Aircel’s 900 MHz Band Spectrum Holdings
In the 900 MHz band, Aircel has three spectrum holdings of 4.4 MHz quantum each in Assam, Jammu – Kashmir, and North East that are set expire in 2024. The spectrum holdings are also non-liberalised that cannot be sold without paying the liberalisation fee. These set of spectrum holdings are more or less dormant ones with not much of a value.
The 13.2 MHz spectrum chunk as per 2021 Auction price would cost Rs 567.6 crore. The remaining spectrum holding of Aircel would have a value of Rs 85.14 crore as per 2021 Auction price.
Aircel’s 1800 MHz Spectrum Holdings
This frequency band is among Aircel’s most prized possession. The company has both liberalised and non-liberalised in this band with huge chunks of spectrum in its kitty across the country. The biggest chunk is of 10 MHz in Tamil Nadu that is liberalised.
Aircel has around 74.6 MHz spectrum holding in this band with 39.6 MHz non-liberalised and in multiples of 4.4 MHz across multiple circle. These set of spectrum holdings are set to expire in 2026. It also has certain bits and chunks of 1800 MHz band non-liberalised spectrum in other circles which are set to expire in 2024.
The entire chunk of Aircel’s spectrum in the 1800 MHz band would come at a cost of Rs 11,436 crore as per the price discovered in 2021 Auction. The remaining spectrum holding of Aircel would have a value of Rs 2,796.87 crore as per 2021 Auction price.
Aircel’s 2100 MHz Spectrum Holdings
2100 MHz frequency is the crown among Aircel’s assets given the entire kitty of spectrum is liberalised and valid till 2030. Aircel has a chunk of 65 MHz spectrum across the length and breadth of the country, same as Reliance Communications due to which there is no unsold spectrum in certain circles. DoT as a result could be put to auction spectrum in the 2100 MHz band in certain circles in 2021 Auction.
The entire chunk of 2100 MHz in Airtel’s kitty would come at Rs 6,895 crores as per the 2021 Auction discovered price. The remaining spectrum holding of Aircel would have a value of Rs 3,102.75 crore as per the 2021 Auction price.
In certain circles, DoT had failed to put to auction spectrum in certain frequency bands due to unavailability of unsold spectrum. Hence, certain calculations include few tweaks here and there.