Vodafone India aims to add spectrum as it expands 4G footprint - Mobile World Live

Vodafone India aims to add spectrum as it expands 4G footprint

12 MAY 2016

India’s second largest mobile player Vodafone is looking to acquire more spectrum as it ramps up its 4G network coverage from five regions to nine.

The operator, which said it would acquire airwaves by auction, sharing or trading, didn’t specify the bands it is targeting or the expected investment required.

It announced recently it will add 4G service in Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh East and West Bengal. With its existing 4G service in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Karnataka and Kerala, the new rollouts will give it coverage in more than 1,000 cities and towns. The nine regions account for nearly 70 per cent of its total revenue, the Economic Times reported.

The country’s telecoms regulator has scheduled an auction in July and said it will sharply increase the amount of spectrum available, which will likely include spectrum in the highly efficient 700MHz band for the first time and six other bands.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in late January set a base price for the band at an eye-watering $1.7 billion per megahertz. India’s top four operators, however, have said since February they may avoid the 700MHz auction, given their stretched balance sheets and need to beef up their 4G networks with newcomer Reliance Jio soon to launch 4G nationwide.

But the country’s third largest operator, Idea Cellular, said last week it is still considering bidding for the 700MHz band despite the extremely high reserve price set.

According to an HSBC analyst, Idea has indicated it may spend $1.3 billion to pick up additional spectrum in four service regions in the auction, the Times reported. It noted that Airtel may also actually acquire 700MHz spectrum in key regions, as it is cheaper than the 900MHz band.


Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

Read more