Telecom operators in Soup as DoT decides to split 2G 3G 4G spectrum auction

By November 19th, 2014 AT 6:06 PM

The Department of Telecom (DoT) has decided to split the 2G and 3G/4G auction which plans to sell 3G and 4G spectrum by May 2015. This is a negative development compared to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendations, which was to auction all the spectrum simultaneously.


The spectrum auction for telecom services is expected to start from February 23, 2015, a few days later than suggested by a ministerial group, according to a report. As per the report, “2G spectrum in both CDMA and GSM bands are likely to be sold starting February 23 while the rest could be sold a few months later,”
“The government is also mulling auctioning some amount of 3G spectrum along with spectrum in three sets of spectrum band — 800 MHz (used by CDMA operators) that is lying unused, alongwith 900 MHz and 1800 MHz being used by Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Reliance Communication for 2G services across the country, according to a report.

“I don’t think this is a very good decision as it would only add to the pressure on the telecom industry. The reason why the regulator had asked for a multi-band auction was to ease the do-or-die situation operators were facing,” said Rajan Mathews, director-general of the GSM lobby group COAI.

Also Read : Spectrum wars: DoT likely to decide February 23 2015 as the date for auction, operators to battle it out

COAI has also put its concern stating if the proposed spectrum auction (to be held in February 2015) is conducted with completely inadequate spectrum, it will put investments of thousands of crores and continuity of services to millions of customers at huge risk.

The next round of auctions for spectrum is compulsory for mobile operators – Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance Communication – as some of their licences are set to expire in 2015-16.

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SivaSudhakarAPpL€ LoVeR™Esmail Beguwalabharat khanna Recent comment authors
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I think 850 MHz, 900 MHz and 1900 MHz are available on both 3G and 2G. I think it is better to start 3G in 900 and 1900 MHz and expand 2G in the 850 MHz in case if 900 MHz 2G frequency is occupied. If done so, the EDGE speed might increase to 256 Kbps upload and 256 Kbps download for all users anytime.

One doubt. Why aren’t the Indian operators using the unused 850 and 1900 MHz either for 3G or 2G like in the case of some operators in the U.S?.

APpL€ LoVeR™
APpL€ LoVeR™

Some operators have plan to start 3G in the 900MHz(Idea plans 3G services in Delhi on 900MHz)(on lower frequency bands because the distance covered under lower frequency band is much higher when compared with higher frequency band) but the problem is availability of enough contiguous spectrum and how an operator give priority for services of Voice and Data. Another problem is, on lower frequency band high speed data transfer rate is not possible when compared with a higher frequency band i.e. the data amount carried per second on higher frequency (band like 1800MHz, 2100MHz and more) will be always higher… Read more »


You are wrong. CDMA is working in the 800 MHz band. 850 MHz is in the GSM band.

900 and 1900 MHz comes in both 2G and 3G. Are you saying there won’t be any mobile networks based on 1900 MHz (2G or 3G)?. Is it possible to start 3G at 900 Mhz?. Low frequency = less data speed, less subscribers and more coverage?. But high frequency = less coverage, more subscribers. What to do?.

bharat khanna
bharat khanna

I thought the operators are free to use 3g/4g and 2g on any spectrum. 1800mhz fro 4g and 2g at the same time? so what they will auction 1800mhz x blocks now for 2g and y blocks later for 4g?

Esmail Beguwala
Esmail Beguwala

All spectrum sold in any auction will always be technology neutral, any operator is free to use any frequency band for either 2G, 3G or 4G services. In the article 2G refers to 800MHz, 900MHz and 1800MHz since these bands have traditionally been used for 2G services for CDMA and GSM. while the 3G in the article refers to 2100MHz and 4G refers to 2300MHz and 2500MHz since these bands have traditionally been used for 3G and 4G services. so DOT is planning to auction 800,900 and 1800MHz in Feb 2015 and auction 2100, 2300, 2500MHz bands in May 2015.… Read more »


Why can’t they use 900 MHz and 850 MHz for 3G and use 1900 MHz for 2G like in the U.S?.


That’s because of handset compatibitly. It’s a sad thing that most handsets dont even support quad band GSM i.e 850/1900 in addition with the common 900/1800. The same is the case with 3G, even smartphones manufactured before 2013 don’t even support the 900 MHz band on 3G. Even !dea aiming to rollout 3G only on 900 MHz in Dehi NCR circle needs to take care right from educating people to check for handset compatibilty before opting to their services.


Who said?. Most of the multimedia BRANDED COMPANY handsets support quadband 3G. See the following handsets, note 2, note 3 neo, Nokia lumia 730 / 735, lumia 830, lumia 630 (RM 977), G3 stylus D690, Samsung S7582, Samsung A3 and A5, Samsung galaxy grand prime, Samsung G7102, Samsung S4 mini support quad band 3G.

LG F60, Samsung I9082 support tri band 3G.

Samsung S7562 and LG L50 support 3G at 900 MHz and 2100 MHz.

See this link containing mobiles that support quad band 3G
My Nokia N8 supports PENTA BAND 3G networks.


Agreed ! But I was telling about mid-budgeted and low end models. Even they form a major share and I definetely sure that not every phone supports quad band GSM and penta band 3G frequencies and DoT will surely look after this before extending mobile frequency bands.

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