Bharti Airtel is likely to clearly beat Vodafone in India in terms of growth as it has increased its spectrum lead over the No. 2 player after the recent auctions, broker CLSA said.
According to CLSA, Bharti now has 18% of the total operator spectrum in India, while Vodafone has only about 11%.
In the crucial 900 MHz band (used for GSM), Bharti has 28% of the total spectrum while Vodafone has only around 18%.
It is not clear how the broker has calculated spectrum share. For example, it is not clear whether 5 MHz of spectrum in a large state like Maharashtra has been given the same weightage as 5 MHz of spectrum in a small state like Himachal Pradesh, or whether the spectrum have been measured after adjusting for the population that it covers.
“The big spectrum edge in the 900MHz band should continue to support its superior margins. Also, Bharti can offer 3G services in 21 of 22 circles versus 15 for Vodafone,” said CLSA in a report.
Over the past two auctions, Bharti’s share of telecom spectrum in India rose from 14% to 18% while Vodafone’s only rose from 10% to 11%, the broker said.
It may be noted that both operators have spent largely the same amount in recent spectrum auctions. As a result, it is possible that the above calculation does not adjust for the population coverage factor.
Bharti Airtel generated mobile revenue of 52,000 crore from India alone last year, higher than Vodafone’s India revenue by 23%.