Previously, we heard about Bharti Airtel plotting strategies to downscale its 2G and 3G spread in the country to make use of the airwaves and other resources for a better 4G network. Now Vodafone Idea seems to be following on the same lines. The newly merged telco has also announced that it would be using its spectrum which was previously being used to relay 2G network for implementing a better 4G connectivity. The telco will be taking this way to better compete with the Mukesh Ambani led telco, Reliance Jio.
Vodafone Idea to Redeploy 900Mhz and 2100MHz Band
Vodafone Idea will be making use of the 900MHz spectrum in the country for deploying better 4G services instead of the 2G network, for which the spectrum is currently being used. Further, the 2100MHz band which is currently being used for 3G services by the telco will also be used for 4G services. It’s also worth noting that Vodafone Idea has already started the pilot for this new transition from the 2G network to 4G network of the spectrum.
The telco is conducting tests in Mumbai where it is now using the 900Mhz band for 4G network services and it is expected that the carrier will extend this change soon to other circles as well. As per an ET report, few people aware of the matter have highlighted that the telco might be required to the pay the market price of the 900MHz spectrum in the states of Tamil Nadu, UP-West and West Bengal as these bands were initially allocated to the company and not auctioned. As per the available information, Vodafone Idea holds 900 MHz spectrum in 17 circles and the 3G spectrum held by the carrier is in the 2100 MHz band across 22 markets, which the telco aims to use for this task.
On the other hand, the Sunil Bharti Mittal led telco, Bharti Airtel has finalised its plans to redeploy its spectrum for the 4G network. The telco has notified that it will be using the 900MHz frequency, which is currently being used for 2G along with the presently deployed 3G spectrum of 2100MHz for expansion of the 4G network. Airtel CEO, Gopal Vittal has also affirmed this, saying that the telco will be taking three to four months for the complete redeployment of the spectrum.
Pace of Redeployment to Depend on Revenue from 2G and 3G
Officials from the company have also highlighted that the transition of this spectrum to be used for 4G services and the pace of this project would depend on the revenue inflow from the 2G and 3G services combined with the availability of compatible 4G devices.
Also, one of the experts on spectrum management spoke to ET and said, “Re-farming the 900 MHz band can significantly enhance Vodafone Idea’s LTE capability and help it garner more 4G customers, especially in markets where it does not have comparable coverage like Jio’s or Airtel’s.”
Vodafone Idea Chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla also said that the company would work in a rapid pace to redeploy the spectrum to expand the 4G network. If we are to believe the experts, Vodafone Idea has lagged behind the competitors when it comes to 4G network, however, to sustain in the industry, it’s imperative for the telco to put enough emphasis on 4G network expansion. This move is expected to increase the span of 4G network under Vodafone Idea by as much as three to five times.