India’s 4G market has just become more competitive and fierce. Initially it was just Reliance Jio which enjoyed the lion’s share of 4G spectrum holding across the country. But now, the leading telecom operator Bharti Airtel would pose a serious threat to RJio’s dominance as it was signed a spectrum trading deal with Videocon.
Airtel inked an agreement with Videocom Telecom for buying the latter’s 4G bandwidth in the 1800 MHz band in all the 6 telecom circles of Videocon for Rs. 4,428 crores. These telecom circles are UP-East, UP-West, Gujarat, Haryana, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh.
The deal was announced within hours of termination of contract by Idea Cellular for acquiring Videocon’s spectrum in just two telecom circles.
It is worth noting that Norway’s Telenor Group was also interested in acquiring Videocon’s 4G spectrum in these circles for cementing its position in the Indian market. But now that Airtel has gone ahead with this deal, it would be worth noting what Telenor would do for improving its market position.
This deal would help Airtel increase its 4G footprint from just 15 telecom circles to 19 circles. Reliance Jio has 4G licenses for 22 circles. On the other hand, Reliance Jio has 640 MHz worth of 4G spectrum while Airtel would now have 700 MHz in 4G spectrum.
This spectrum trading deal would not only strengthen Airtel’s position in the market but would also allow it to offer 4G services in all metros and Category A service areas while having either 3G or 4G presence across all 22 circles.
Airtel also has the best mix of 3G and 4G bandwidth in the country, reports Goldman Sachs. Earlier, Airtel was ahead of Vodafone and Idea Cellular but this deal brings it in a position to compete head-on with Reliance Jio.
Reliance Jio had also linked a spectrum trading deal with Reliance Communications. The agreement allows RJio to use RCom’s spectrum in 800 MHz band for offering voice as well as data services.
Only, time will tell which telecom operator would emerge out to be the most successful telco in the country. The good thing is that the odds would not be that much in favour of Reliance Jio.