Telcos gear up for data play

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 07, 2016


Spectrum will help them widen broadband footprint and improve speedof services

A close look at the bids placed by telecom operators in the recent auctions clearly indicates the shift in strategy from voice to data. For instance, Bharti Airtel has acquired 173.8 Mhz spectrum across the 1800 Mhz, 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands for a total consideration of ₹14,244 crore.

In all circles

The company now has 4G and 3G spectrum in all circles. In the latest auction, Airtel has built new 4G/3G capabilities in seven circles. The company has spent ₹10,340 crore towards enhancing data capacities in 15 circles. It has also spent ₹321 crore towards completing some of the existing partial blocks in four circles, giving it a second carrier for its future needs.

Idea Cellular acquired 349.20 MHz of spectrum at an aggregate bid value of ₹12,798 crore. Idea has acquired an additional 74.6 MHz spectrum in the 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands, and 200 MHz of capacity spectrum in the 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.

This enables Idea to complete its mobile broadband footprint across all 22 licensed service areas and also equips the company with substantial capacity spectrum required to meet data capacity needs for its ever-growing 180 million customer base.

More areas

Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director, Idea Cellular Ltd, said: “While being prudent in its spectrum acquisition with less than 1 per cent premium paid over the DoT set reserve price, Idea is capable of deploying 3-7 broadband carriers in each of its 12 leadership markets.”

Idea is now well equipped to offer 4G services on its own spectrum across 20 service areas, including the nine new service areas of Uttar Pradesh (West), Uttar Pradesh (East), Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Mumbai, West Bengal, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally,Idea has also procured 3G spectrum in Bihar and Rajasthan extending its capability to offer 3G services to 15 service areas.

Idea, in this auction, has expanded its spectrum portfolio by over 64 per cent.

The company has acquired an additional ‘35’ 4G LTE and ‘2’ 3G wireless broadband carriers for new coverage and capacity enhancement, primarily in its leadership markets.

Reliance Jio has renewed its expiring spectrum in the 800 MHz band in the Gujarat circle and purchased additional spectrum in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands for ₹13,672 crore.

Through this acquisition, RJio’s total spectrum footprint has increased to 1,108 MHz.

Aggressive bidder

But it was Vodafone that was the most aggressive bidder. The company has acquired spectrum in all its key telecom circles for a total cost of ₹20,280 crore.

The new spectrum significantly enhances the coverage, capacity and speed of Vodafone India’s 4G data services in key circles, complementing its existing high-quality 2G and 3G voice and data capabilities. Vodafone acquired airwaves in the 1800, 2100 and 2500 MHz bands.

“This enables us to provide our customers broadband services across India with multi-band high-capacity capability in our strong circles,” said Sunil Sood, Managing Director and CEO, Vodafone India.

Published on October 07, 2016
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