GaAsBi offers the possibility to develop near-IR semiconductor lasers such that the spin-orbit-split-off energy (ΔSO) is greater than the bandgap (Eg) in the active region with lasing wavelengths in the datacom/telecom range of 1.3-1.6 μm. This promises to suppress the dominant efficiency-limiting loss processes as Auger recombination, involving the generation of “hot” holes in the spin-orbit split-off band (the so-called “CHSH” process), and inter-valence band absorption (IVBA), where emitted photons are re-absorbed in the active region, thereby increasing the internal optical losses and negatively impacting upon the laser characteristics being responsible for the main energy consumption. In addition to growth and fabrication processes refinement, a key aspect of efforts to continue the advancement of the GaAsBi material system for laser applications is to develop a quantitative understanding of the impact of Bi on key device parameters. In this work, we present the first experimental measurements of the absorption, spontaneous emission, and optical gain spectra of GaAsBi/AlGaAs QW lasers using a segmented contact method and a theoretical analysis of these devices, which shows good quantitative agreement with the experiment. Internal optical losses of 10-15 cm-1 and peak modal gain of 24 cm-1 are measured at threshold and a peak material gain is estimated to be 1500 cm-1 at current density of 2 kA/cm-2, which agrees well with the calculated value of 1560 cm-1. The theoretical calculations also enabled us to identify and quantify Bi composition variations across the wafer and Bi-induced inhomogeneous broadening of the optical spectra.