Idea Cellular has offered to swap spectrum with Airtel and Vodafone so as to help avoid 20 million subscribers in Delhi from getting their services disrupted. The licences of Airtel and Vodafone are expiring in Delhi on November 29. In the recently concluded spectrum auction, Idea Cellular has won a total of 65.2 MHz under the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands.
With this Idea now has the ability to launch 4G services in Kerala with 10 MHz, and in Maharashtra & Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, and North East, using 5 MHz of contiguous 1800 MHz spectrum won in each of these service areas.
Idea has also acquired the ability to deploy 3G services in the strategically significant metro market of Delhi by winning 5 MHz in the 900 MHz band.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in mid-October had written to the Department of Telecom (DoT) saying that mobile services in the national capital may be disrupted partially from December due to delays in the allocation of frequencies to Airtel and Vodafone.
Although Airtel and Vodafone had bought spectrum afresh in February, they were allotted new frequencies only on October 10. Both the companies said they will take few more weeks to adjust their networks as per the new frequency allocated.
In the mean time, the company said that DoT should not delay allocation of 5 MHz spectrum won by it in Delhi for Rs. 3,705 crore. It paid upfront payment of Rs. 926.2 crore on March 3.
Any delay in spectrum beyond 30.11.2014, would result in launch of Idea services on the said 900 MHz spectrum by an equivalent period and it is totally unacceptable, according to Idea.
On the business front, the company said that it is incurring interest cost of Rs. 1.02 crore every day on the investment made.