Vodafone Idea Spent Less at Auctions Because it has Plenty Spectrum: Report

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In the recently concluded 4G spectrum auctions, Vodafone Idea (Vi) bought 11.8 MHz of spectrum in five circles for Rs 1,993.4 crores. At the same time, Jio spent more than Rs 50,000 crores, and Airtel spent close to Rs 20,000 crores for acquiring fresh spectrum. According to an ET report, the reason behind Vi spending such less money at the auctions was already owning plenty of spectrum. The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Vi, Jagbir Singh, said that the telco already has ‘enough spectrum’; thus, it didn’t buy much at the auctions.

Vi Looking to Make Capex Investments for Improving 4G Network

Singh said that Vi is looking to improve its 4G network in the country and is planning its capex investments according to that. He said that the telco already covered more than a billion people through its 4G network and is looking to switch off 3G completely to utilise the spectrum efficiently for providing 4G services.

Further, the telco is also motivating its 2G customers to shift to 4G. Singh said that Vi already has the capacity to serve 270 million customers through its 4G network, and the number will only increase as the telco switches off 3G in a phased manner in the country. He said that the 2G spectrum is also being refarmed to 4G.

It is worth noting that Vi has the largest sub-GHz spectrum holdings in several telecom circles of India. Further, Singh said that Vi is not looking to take out investments/equipment from the Category C circles. The telco would invest proportionately in all the telecom circles.

Adding to this, the telco will increase its investments in the top 16 circles (part 1, 2, and 3). Even the analysts didn’t think that Vi would spend so less in the auctions. But since the telco already has plenty of spectrum and a declining user base, it will be able to manage the network just fine.

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