The spectrum auction completed 7 rounds of bidding on day 4, bringing up the total to 24 rounds since the start of the auction process. The 800MHz band is growing in popularity especially in the C category circles of Assam and North East, mainly because the price of spectrum in these circles is comparatively lower than A and B category circles and the number of towers here is lesser which is why a lower frequency spectrum will be of greater significance.
Other circles in which the demand for 800MHz is higher than the supply is Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and Punjab. In the 900MHz band, things are getting steadier with surplus demand being only in Assam, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. In 1800 MHz band things have steadied out with demand being equal to the number of blocks available in Andhra Pradesh circle. In 2100MHz bands, we saw fresh bids in the circles of Assam, North East and Rajasthan at the increased prices.
The interesting fact that we noticed is that Reliance communications are most likely bidding for 800MHz as well, since there was a bid for just 2 blocks in 800MHz band in Jammu & Kashmir circle and no other operator that is participating in this auction holds any spectrum in 800MHz band in Jammu & Kashmir circle which implies they would need to bid for a minimum of 4 blocks and be treated as a new operator as far as that frequency in that circle is concerned. This also indicates that Rcom could have bid for 2 blocks in Assam and North East circles as well where it only has 2.5MHz as of now.
Rcom still has validity for another 10 to 12 years for its existing 800MHz spectrum in these circles and may use the newly acquired spectrum to offer EvDO Rev.B for the initial few years and can later even pay a fee to get its entire 800MHz spectrum liberalised and use it for offering FD-LTE.
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.