Reliance Jio is yet to roll out its 4G services to the masses, but it has successfully managed to worry the incumbent telecom operators. Only Airtel and Reliance Jio have pan-India licence for offering 4G services as of now, which is the cause of concern for the incumbents.
The data business is the most profitable for the telecom operators and would also have the highest revenue share in near future. So they need to have good spectrum holdings for offering high-speed data services or they perish.
India’s #2 telecom operator Vodafone is expected to spend about $3 billion while #3 telco Idea would spend close to $1.5B for strengthening its 4G spectrum holding across the nation.
For instance, Idea has 4G spectrum in just 10 telecom circles as compared to pan-India coverage of Airtel 4G and Jio 4G. However, the company has deployed its 4G network in a total of 575 towns in just 100 days by adding a total of 14,000 4G cell sites.
It is also expected that both Vodafone and Idea would spend to increase their holdings for 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz airwaves. According to a report by ET, Vodafone might even want to gain more spectrum in the 2300 MHz band for the metros.
“Vodafone with 4G airwaves in only five markets has a desperate need for data spectrum before Jio launches commercially, and could emerge among the biggest spenders in the next auction,” quoted an analyst.
It is also likely that Airtel would try to acquire the most premium 700 MHz band for high subscriber markets like Bihar, UP-East, UP-West, Rajasthan, and West Bengal.
Govt. Auctioning 7 Spectrum Bands; Expects To Bag Rs. 5.66 Lakh Crore
The govt. is putting up 7 spectrum bands to auction which are 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, and 2500 MHz and expects to bag close to Rs. 5.66 Lakh crore making it the biggest spectrum auction till date.
However, HSBC Global Research said that the proceeds from spectrum auction are unlikely to exceed Rs. 80,000 crore as it predicts that a lot of spectrum in the 700 MHz, 2300 MHz, and 2500 MHz bands might remain unsold. It was also reported that many telcos want the government to postpone the auction of 700 MHz band to future as the Indian telecom ecosystem is still not ready for it.
What changes await the Indian telecom industry is worth looking out for. We will keep you updated with all the happening about the upcoming spectrum auction. Stay tuned on ITN!