Day 2 of 5G Spectrum Auction 2022 ended with five clock rounds completed today, taking the total number of clock rounds to nine. It is good to see that telcos are bidding on the 700 MHz band, which is a sub-GHz band and is a prime band required for 5G coverage.
Sub-GHz Bands in Auction:
Fresh Bands: 600 MHz, 700 MHz
Existing Bands: 800 MHz, 900 MHz
Although the 700 MHz band was put to an auction previously, there were no buyers due to its high pricing, and the band is new for any telco to use for services. Currently, in the 800 MHz band, only Jio operates, whereas in the 900 MHz band Airtel, BSNL/MTNL, and Vodafone Idea operate. 10 MHz of spectrum in each circle in the 600 MHz band was set aside for allocation to BSNL/MTNL for 5G services.
Service Providers that don't hold Sub-GHz spectrum in any circle:
Sub-GHz Spectrum holdings help a telco in terms of coverage, cost-efficient deployments and enhance the indoor experience for customers. Although practical scenarios and real case experiences differ with respect to the technology deployed, handset used, and the location of a user, the image below gives insights into the telcos lacking a sub-GHz spectrum in specific circles and bands.
900 MHz Band:
Jio doesn't hold any spectrum in this band. Airtel, BSNL/MTNL and Vodafone Idea operate on this band.
BSNL/MTNL holds a minimum of 5 MHz across all 22 circles.
Airtel doesn't hold sub-GHz spectrum in 4 circles, namely Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Goa and Uttar Pradesh West. Except for Maharashtra & Goa, which is a Category 'A' circle, the rest are category 'B' circles.
Vodafone Idea doesn't hold sub-GHz spectrum in 5 circles, namely Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, and North East; all of them are category 'C' circles.
800 MHz Band:
Jio holds a minimum of 5 MHz across all the 22 circles, through which 4G services can be delivered. Jio holds 15 MHz in Mumbai, the highest quantum of the sub-GHz spectrum when compared to the rest of its circles.
Airtel holds the sub-GHz spectrum in 4 circles, namely Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Goa and Uttar Pradesh West. The 800 MHz holding in these 4 circles will help airtel compensate for the deficit of the Sub GHz spectrum in the 900 MHz band it has.
So, Vodafone Idea is the only telco that doesn't hold a sub-GHz spectrum in five of its category 'C' circles.