HOME > BUSINESS > SPECTRUM AUCTION 2016: Vodafone seen having bought pan-India 4G spectrum in final results

SPECTRUM AUCTION 2016: Vodafone seen having bought pan-India 4G spectrum in final results

Though Vodafone has not revealed its purchases yet, the pattern of announcements so far indicates that the company has purchased 4G spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band across India.

The reason for this conclusion is that Bharti Airtel has been successful in buying 10 MHz (half of all) 2.3 GHz spectrum in most circles.

2.3 and 2.5 GHz are the primary capacity bands for 4G in India, and an operator must have 20 MHz of either of these for delivering decent speeds.

Since there was only 20 MHz on offer in 2.3 GHz hand, and Airtel managed to get half of it, that means that there was only 10 MHz left — too little for Vodafone.

The implies two things — Vodafone bought 20 to 30 MHz of 4G spectrum across circles in the 2.5 GHz band. 

Secondly, the remaining 10 MHz of 2.3 band was acquired by Reliance Jio, which was also eyeing the block. Jio’s total purchases are likely to be comparable to Bharti Airtel’s or lower than that.


UPDATE — So far, the following companies have revealed their purchases.

Bharti Airtel 

Reliance Jio

Idea Cellular


This implies that Vodafone was the biggest buyer of spectrum with around 20,000-21,000 worth of airwaves snapped up by the company this time. We await official confirmation.


UPDATE 2: Vodafone’s spectrum chart is below. For the full story, click here.


In other words, both Jio and Airtel have 30 MHz of 2.3 GHz spectrum in most circles in India, while Vodafone is likely to report 20-30 MHz of 2.5 GHz spectrum in most circles.

In addition, the England-based company is likely to have acquired some 1800 MHz airwaves as well.

The following is the chart of Airtel’s acquisition in the 2016 auction. We will update as others reveal their details.



Going by what others are saying, Vodafone has spent between 20,000-21,000 cr on the auction, making it the biggest buyer of airwaves this time by far.


The following is the statement from Idea. Here is our story on Idea’s purchases (which have been far higher than expected.)

Idea is now well equipped to offer 4G services on its own spectrum across 20 service areas including 9 new service areas of Uttar Pradesh (West), Uttar Pradesh (East), Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Mumbai, West Bengal, Assam and Jammu & Kashmir. Additionally, Idea has also procured 3G spectrum in Bihar & Rajasthan extending its capability to offer 3G services to 15 service areas.

With the procurement of 349.2 MHz of spectrum at an aggregate bid value of Rs. 12,798 crores, Idea has acquired additional 2×74.6 MHz spectrum in FDD technology on 1800 and 2100 bands, and 200 MHz of capacity spectrum in TDD technology on 2300 and 2500 bands. This enables Idea to complete its mobile broadband footprint across all 22 licensed service areas in India and also equips the company with substantial capacity spectrum required for meeting data capacity needs for its ever growing 180 million customer base.

‘While being prudent in its Spectrum acquisition with less than 1% premium paid over the DoT set reserve price, Idea in this Auction, procures the highest ever, additional 37 Wireless Broadband Carriers reaching capability to use an overall 64 high speed Broadband carriers across bands of 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 and 2500 MHz. We are pleased to share that now Idea is capable of deploying 3 to 7 broadband carriers in each of its 12 Leadership Markets gearing itself to substantially improve customer’s Wireless Data experience and capture higher share of exponentially growing Mobile Data business,” said Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director, Idea Cellular Limited,.

Idea in this auction has expanded its spectrum portfolio by over 64%. The company has acquired an additional ‘35’ 4G LTE and ‘2’ 3G wireless broadband carriers for new coverage and capacity enhancement, primarily in its leadership markets. Idea now owns 64 broadband carriers and intends to use 47 of these carriers on 4G LTE technology covering 94% of its revenue base, and 17 carriers for 3G services. Idea broadband coverage will soon be available in all 22 service areas across the country. Idea through this spectrum auction has strengthened its position in its strong high population leadership markets including Maharashtra and Goa, Uttar Pradesh – West & East, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, HP, Haryana and Punjab.

“In the spectrum auction concluded today, based on the final round provisional results on the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) auction website, Idea Cellular has successfully completed its Pan-India Mobile Broadband footprint and significantly boosted its capacity spectrum portfolio, as it prepares itself for the upcoming Digital age.

Comments Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman Idea Cellular Limited: ‘To fulfil our Prime Minister’s Mr Narendra Modi’s vision of Digital India, Idea in this Auction completes its Pan India Wireless Broadband Footprint. With an aggregate spectrum holding of over 890 MHz (in FDD and TDD technology bands) including acquisition in the current auction of 349.20 MHz, Idea has filled all of its spectrum coverage requirements, while procuring a substantial part of its broadband capacity needs for the next decade. The company will now focus on expanding its Wireless Broadband presence primarily on 4G LTE technology to over a billion Indians while offering World Class high speed Digital Customer experience like never before.’

With this large spectrum quantity procurement and an ongoing expansion of its world class Wireless broadband infrastructure, Idea will now be able to service its over 180 million strong customer base with a full array of Digital services on high-speed broadband platform. These mobile broadband customers will also enjoy the planned new range of Idea branded Digital Content across Movies, Music, TV, Games, News, Digital Wallet, etc. and soon to be launched ABG Payment Bank Services.

CirclesBandMhzRs. Cr.
3G, 4G FD/TD LTE New Capability 
Jammu & Kashmir18002.431
Himachal Pradesh230010.010
3G/4G FD/TD LTE Additional Carrier
North East230010.010
Andhra Pradesh230010.0683
West Bengal230010.050
Tamil Nadu230010.01320
Jammu & Kashmir21005.055
4G FD LTE Future Additional Carrier
North East18001.415
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