Reliance communications becomes first operator to possess pan India contiguous 800MHz spectrum

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Reliance communications have declared that in the recently concluded auction it has emerged as the only operator to now possess Pan India contiguous 800MHz spectrum upwards of 5MHz. Rcom plans to use this spectrum for a large scale FD-LTE rollout. Rcom has licences in 7 circles in 900MHz band which are expiring in December 2015, out of which it has managed to win back 900MHz spectrum in Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and 1800MHz spectrum in Odisha and North East circles.


In the 3 circles of West Bengal, Assam and Bihar Rcom could not win back any spectrum. Rcom says that the 3 circles that it lost contribute to 7.1% of its total telecom revenue in India and they have accelerated the process of migrating the current subscribers in these circles from 2G to 3G to prevent any disruption of services. Rcom spent a total of Rs. 4,299 crores and has to make an upfront payment of Rs. 1,106 crores to the government before 31st March.
The band wise, circle wise new spectrum acquired by Rcom is as follows.

800 MHz Band
CircleAmount of Spectrum
Assam5 MHz
North East5 MHz
Gujarat2.5 MHz
Haryana1.25 MHz
Himachal Pradesh2.5 MHz
Jammu & Kashmir2.5 MHz
Odisha1.25 MHz
UP (West)1.25 MHz
Kolkata1.25 MHz
Punjab1.25 MHz
West Bengal1.25 MHz

Reliance 900 Mhz Band

900 Mhz Band
CircleAmount of Spectrum
Himachal Pradesh5 MHz
Madhya Pradesh5 MHz


Reliance 1800 Mhz Band

1800 MHz Band
Karnataka0.6 Mhz
Odisha5 Mhz
North-East5 MHz
Punjab0.6 Mhz
Haryana0.6 Mhz

Rcom now has more than 5MHz of 800MHz spectrum which is ideal for launching FD-LTE (4G) services, but only the newly won spectrum is liberalised and can be used for 4G. If Rcom wishes to use its older 800MHz for 4G it will have to pay a onetime fee to DOT to liberalise its entire spectrum holding in that band. In any case, they will be open to the spectrum sharing and trading deals that will come to the table once DOT finalises the guidelines for the same.

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Esmail is our very own in-house spectrum specialist. He is passionate about Telecom, DTH and OTT video streaming apps. When not writing an article, you can find him binge watching shows on Netflix while sipping on a cup of coffee.

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