‘Spectrum’ relates to the radio waves for communication over the airwaves. Here, on this page, we focus only on radio frequencies allocated to the ‘mobile industry’ in India. Spectrum is a very crucial resource which has enormous potential for all round development of a country from communication to socio-economic development. So, telcos’ spectrum requirements vary according to usage demand and technology landscape. Government regulators in India (WPC/TRAI/DOT) monitor the spectrum usage, allocations and conduct auctions for spectrum in such a manner to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country. In India 850MHz (800MHz), 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz, 2500MHz bands are currently in use for mobile services.
Component Carrier: We come across telcos generally stating ‘We have added a new 4G carrier on so and so band. Refarmed so and so band for a new 4G carrier.‘ What do all these mean? This means the telco has managed to create a carrier from its spectrum portfolio with any of the mentioned Component Carrier BW configurations i.e. 1.4, 3, 5, 10, 15, 20MHz on a band to provision LTE services.
I have selectively chosen the maps’ colour schemes along with the details represented by the maps for visual appeal and ease of understanding. Colour or opacity is varied in some maps to highlight spectrum variations.
1. For understanding: 1MHz of 700MHz spectrum supports the same amount of data as 1MHz of 2500MHz spectrum, but one slice of radio spectrum isn’t the same as other as different spectrum bands have different characteristics. Low-frequency transmissions i.e. sub GHz bands can travel greater distances and hence more coverage. Less data can be transmitted over low-frequency waves. Higher-frequency transmissions carry more data but cannot travel greater distances. Networks with higher capacity generally support higher speeds. For ease of understanding, the same phenomenon is represented using the concept of ‘Pipes‘ through the infographic in a layman way and may not depict all the concepts of the underlying technologies.
2. Administratively assigned spectrum is un-liberalised Spectrum. Spectrum assigned through auctions is liberalised Spectrum. Un-liberalised spectrum can be converted to liberalised by paying market-determined price prorated for balance license period.
a. Un-Liberalised Spectrum: Defined technology, Defined Services, Slow to respond to market
b. Liberalised Spectrum: Any Technology, Any Services, Innovation friendly
For sheet based information you may refer to PAN India Spectrum Holding Sheet
- Jan 24th 2019 – Spectrum Holding Maps of Airtel, Jio, VIL in 2100MHz, 2300MHz, 2500MHz bands. Test version to check certain feasibility parameters.
- Jan 27th 2019 – Squashed some human errors in version 1.o + Visual enhancements. Fully Updated Spectrum Holding Maps of Airtel, Jio, VIL in 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz and 2500MHz bands. *Certain spectrum discrepancy cases are ignored.
Note: Manual work was involved in the preparation of the infographic and errors may have crawled in. Please report any errors you find.
Passionately following the Indian #Telecom Industry for over a decade from Business, Consumer and a Technical perspective. My primary focus area is Consumer & Digital Experience.
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