22/09/2016 5:39 PM IST | Updated 22/09/2016 5:57 PM IST

Vodafone India Gets $7.1 Billion From Parent Amid Tough Telecom Competition

It plans to use the funds to expand network and participate in the upcoming spectrum acution

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

Vodafone Group Plc injected 477 billion rupees ($7.1 billion) in its India unit as it prepares to go public amid a resurgence in competition in the nation's telecommunications industry with the entry of billionaire Mukesh Ambani's Jio this month.

Vodafone India, which received the equity infusion during the first fiscal half, will use the funds to expand its network and participate in an upcoming spectrum auction, the carrier said in a statement.

The announcement comes weeks after Ambani, India's richest man, began operations of his mobile-phone carrier by offering free phone calls, pressuring existing operators in a market that already offers some of the world's lowest tariffs.

India plans its biggest sale of the spectrum that can reduce buffering on videos and speed up downloads for 1 billion-plus users in the world's second-largest smartphone market. The government wants to raise 5.6 trillion rupees by selling airwaves in every band as carriers gear up to offer high speed mobile Internet services.

Vodafone, India's second-largest wireless operator, may be the biggest spender at the auction by offering as much as 163 billion rupees for airwaves, according to Sanford C. Bernstein estimates.