Spectrum auction 2015: 900MHz band Final list of winning operators

The 900MHz band was the centre of all action and the waterloo of the incumbent operators. It was this band that is responsible for adding the maximum amount of money in the government’s kitty in the recently concluded auction. The 4 operators Airtel, Vodafone, Idea and Rcom had licences in many of their existing operational circles coming up for renewal in 2015 and 2016 and in many of those circles the operators did not have sufficient fall-back spectrum in 1800MHz band.

This would mean they would be forced to shut down 2G operations in those circles where they would fail to retain their existing spectrum. Reliance Jio took full advantage of this plight of the incumbents by bidding fiercely to push up the winning price per block in this premium band and then pull out mid-way so as to increase the pay-out of the incumbents. Below is the list of operators and the circles in which they won 900MHz spectrum along with the quantity won.

Operator Circles Quantity (MHz)
Bharti Airtel Andhra Pradesh 9
Assam 6.2
Bihar 1.6
Himachal Pradesh 7.4
Karnataka 8.8
North East 8.8
Odisha 1.2
Punjab 10
Rajasthan 6
West Bengal 2.2
Vodafone India Gujarat 6
Haryana 6.2
Kerala 6.4
Maharashtra 5
Odisha 5
Rajasthan 6.4
Uttar Pradesh (E) 5.6
West Bengal 2.2
Idea Cellular Andhra Pradesh 5
Gujarat 5
Haryana 6
Karnataka 5
Kerala 6
Madhya Pradesh 7.4
Maharashtra 9
Punjab 5.6
Uttar Pradesh (W) 5
Reliance communications Himachal Pradesh 5
Madhya Pradesh 5

Bharti Airtel managed to win back spectrum in all 6 circles where its 900MHz licences were coming up for renewal along with 4 new circles where it added fresh 900MHz spectrum. Vodafone India won back its 900MHz spectrum in the 6 circles where it is expiring and added fresh spectrum in 2 new circles of Odisha and West Bengal. Idea cellular won back its 900MHz spectrum in all 9 circles where it is expiring. Reliance communications could only retain spectrum in 900MHz band in Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh circles also it managed to get fall-back spectrum in 1800MHz in North East and Odisha circles. This means Rcom may have to shut down 2G operations in Assam, Bihar and West Bengal circles where they couldn’t win back spectrum in 900MHz nor get fresh spectrum in 1800MHz.

Also read: 2100MHz band final list of winning operators

Also read:  Provisional results of the spectrum auction

Rcom has sufficient spectrum in 2100MHz and 800MHz bands in these 3 circles but those are used for 3G and CDMA services respectively and do not have an ecosystem for 2G GSM services.


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20 Comments on "Spectrum auction 2015: 900MHz band Final list of winning operators"


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Keshav Jha
March 28, 2015 1:33 pm 1:33 PM

Reliance lost its complete spectrum (don’t know how much MHz) in 900 MHz in Bihar & Airtel won only 1.6 MHz then what happened to remaining spectrum? Is it beneficial for GoI to sell only 1.6 MHz at higher price instead of selling entire spectrum at little bit lesser price?

March 28, 2015 1:53 pm 1:53 PM

Yes that’s what even I was thinking. In fact not only has the government faced a loss but Airtel by just acquiring 1.6 Mhz has managed to push out a competitor in Bihar. This auction is highly flawed.

March 27, 2015 10:08 pm 10:08 PM

Aircel is dead in Kerala, they do not have any presence here….both in 2g and 3g excpt some TN border areas…..

They shud try to sell their 3G spectum to others like airtel here…….

March 27, 2015 9:55 pm 9:55 PM

What does the quantity (eg. 5mhz) indicate? Does it tell the capacity that operator has for no. of connections?

March 28, 2015 9:07 am 9:07 AM

More the amount of spectrum held by an operator, higher the speeds they can offer for mobile internet and lesser the congestion on their networks.