Idea to spend $1.3bn on spectrum purchase, Airtel may go for selective 700 MHz: Report

Idea Cellular, the country’s third largest telco by subscribers, is likely to spend $1.3 billion or around Rs 8,627 crore in buying additional data airwaves in key markets in the upcoming auction around July, according to HSBC.

HSBC analyst Rajiv Sharma, in a note, said that the Aditya Birla Group company may add more data capacity in four circles.


Further, Idea Cellular, which is likely to spend Rs 6,500-7000 crore in capex, may selectively pick data spectrum in its leadership circles like Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, UP-West, where the telco has seen a sharp surge in incremental revenue market share (RMS) over the past one year.

The brokerage firm, according to an ET report, also said that market leader Bharti Airtel may selectively buy 4G airwaves in the premium 700 Mhz band in a few circles, where it does not have liberalised 900 MHz spectrum for 3G.

“Bharti Airtel may add 700 Mhz spectrum in a few markets where it is either priced at par or lower to 900 MHz spectrum as it could help the company address indoor data coverage issues, especially where it cannot use 900 MHz airwaves for 3G deployments,” said brokerage HSBC.

The report said that Bharti Airtel does not have any 900 Mhz spectrum in key markets like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Haryana and MP. The report added that the telco also does not have liberalised 900 MHz spectrum in UP-East and UP-West where it runs 3G on the traditional 2100 Mhz band.

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18 Comments on "Idea to spend $1.3bn on spectrum purchase, Airtel may go for selective 700 MHz: Report"


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May 7, 2016 9:09 pm 9:09 PM
I want airtel to bid for 2100 MHz band pan India. And use it for 4G. Plus get a block each in Kerala Punjab and Kolkata where they don’t have it. If they have a plan then they will work with it. I think Idea and Vodafone will become pan India 3G operators after this auction. RCom may bid in selected circles to fill in the gaps left out after the Aircel merger. I don’t think there is much chance for any others to bid in this band actually. And all the operators will probably top up their existing 1800… Read more »
May 7, 2016 11:22 am 11:22 AM

Idea and Voda should first aim to get pan-India 3G spectrum. This willingness to buy 700MHz spectrum contradicts their earlier statements.

May 6, 2016 11:29 pm 11:29 PM

Hope airtel buys 700mhz in upcoming auc for deployment in mh circle for 3g because internal Airtel 3g coverage is worst,also deployment should take asap after getting it.

May 7, 2016 1:10 am 1:10 AM

700MHz is a 4G band there is no 3G ecosystem for that band

May 7, 2016 9:08 am 9:08 AM

Oh then i belive airtel will focus more on 4g in mh circle,i wont mind getting better 4g signal then 3g 🙂 since airtel 3g in mh is so so poor , but i just wanted to know one thing whether a signal can fall back direclty from 4g to 2g in case of voice calls in airtel bypassing 3g if the above 700 mhz freq implemented.

May 9, 2016 7:35 pm 7:35 PM

Higher the frequency, shorter the signal coverage. 3G is at 2100mhz. Initial 4G plan was 2300mhz, but now the focus in on 1800Mhz & 800Mhz. I think 800Mhz will play a major role in 4G distribution with better & long coverage. Also, it reduces cost for Telcos by reducing no of towers they install due to better coverage.