Vodafone, Idea, Reliance Jio, Telenor and Bharti likely to buy 4G waves in auction – CS

spectrumBroker Credit Suisse sees all the major telecom companies of India making an attempt to buy fresh 4G spectrum in the upcoming auctions expected to take place in March.

Despite making contrary noises, the telcos are likely to buy airwaves as it is a ‘once-in-20-years’ opportunity, the broker said in a note to clients.

According to its estimates, Vodafone and Telenor are seen as the most in need of such buys, followed by Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular.

Even though the three top holders of 4G spectrum — RJio, Airtel and Idea — have opposed selling more 4G suitable spectrum in the 700 MHz band, Credit Suisse expects all of them to eventually participate in the upcoming auctions going by precedent.

“..even before the March 2015 auctions, the industry did issue various statements warning of weak demand in auctions. Even our own expectation was that the 800/2100 MHz spectrum auctions would fail to see any bidders in 2015. The eventual behaviour of the industry in the auctions took everyone by surprise.”

At the same time, cautioned the analysts, only part of the spectrum is likely to be sold.

They felt that Norway-based Telenor is likely to make a bid for 4G airwaves in an attempt to boost its data offerings.

“In September 2015, Uninor rebranded itself as Telenor and has indicated that it will focus on data through 4G… These auctions could provide Telenor an opportunity to enter the LTE race—either through 2100 Mhz or even 700 Mhz bands. This is also visible in its reply to the consultation paper where it is in favour of conducting the 700 auctions,” said the note.

Vodafone, on the other hand, could end up purchasing both 2100 MHz spectrum (suitable for both 3G and 4G) and 2300 MHz (suitable for 4G). Despite being second only to Bharti in terms of revenue, the operator ranks fifth in India in terms of access to 4G-suitable spectrum.

Vodafone at present has 4G spectrum in only five circles– Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Karnataka and Kerala.

“This auction would be an ideal platform for Vodafone to complete the LTE footprint. Further, similar to Idea, Vodafone could try to complete its 3G footprint on 2100 band in the remaining seven circles.”

In case of Idea Cellular — the third biggest operator in the country, it said: “Given the late start, and the recent sprint by Idea to launch LTE services, we can safely assume that Idea would be keen to complete pan-India LTE foot-print.”

Credit Suisse analysts also felt that the Aditya Birla Group company could also try to buy 2100 MHz spectrum in the ten circles where it doesn’t have its own 3G networks. (We, however, believe it is unlikely to try that due to leverage concerns and is likely to focus only on 4G.)

India’s biggest telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, already has near pan-India 3G spectrum and 4G spectrum in 15 out of the 22 zones. “As a priority, Bharti would likely try to fill the gaps in its 3G/4G coverage.” It is also likely to bridge the spectrum deficit it has with RJio by completing its pan-India footprint on 2300 MHz band by buying spectrum in the 13 circles where it doesn’t already own it, the note said.

The only player that doesn’t need to buy new spectrum in the upcoming auction is Reliance Jio, as it has pan-India 4G spectrum, and a lot of it at that. However, it too may end up opening its purse strings, the broker felt.

“RJio would likely try getting more sub-1GHz spectrum in these auctions,” pointing towards the 700 MHz band.

JIO ALREADY BIGGER THAN IDEA, VODAFONE

The analysts also said that Reliance Jio has overtaken both Idea Cellular and Vodafone in terms of having the biggest network in India, even before starting commercial operations.

“Accounting for technology efficiency, RJio has the second largest network capacity nationwide,” it said.

The average 4G spectrum holding of Jio is over 15 Mhz per circle, which is the highest in the industry by a large margin. Airtel has only around half of that.

Bharti, however, continues to have the highest capacity in India due to its substantial 3G and 2G holdings, which RJio doesn’t have.

Surprisingly, in terms of 3G+4G spectrum capacity, Idea has an average of around 10 MHz per circle, higher than Vodafone’s average by almost 2 MHz according to analysts’ estimates.



Reliance Jio NOT TO EXTEND free data offer after March Reliance Jio will not be extending its Happy New Year free data offer beyond March 31, according to our sources in the company.The clarification comes in the wake dozens of reports claiming that it will extend the free scheme beyond the March 31 deadline into June."There is zero chance of that happening," said a senior official in the company's sale...
Idea Cellular – Vodafone merger announcement soon? Idea Spectrum HoldingIdea Cellular has put off the trimonthly meeting of its board of directors scheduled to take place tomorrow, raising speculation that it may soon announce a merger or deal with Vodafone India.The meeting was supposed to take on-board results  of the telecom operators' working the three months from October to December.After t...
Reliance Jio now allowing unlimited night downloads under Happy New Year plan Reliance Jio is now allowing its users to download an unlimited quantum of data at night under its Happy New Year offer.This is different from the earlier practice of allowing users to consume only 4GB of data per 24 hours.With this new feature, subscribers can download or consume 30 GB or 40 GB or even more data between 2 am and 5 am without aff...
How to overcome Reliance Jio’s 1GB limit by timing your downloads According to our tests, it is possible to download more than 1 GB using a single Reliance Jio connection using the Happy New Year offer.According to our tests, there is no limit on the number of GBs that can be downloaded under the Happy New Year offer between 2 AM and 5 AM.In our tests, we have been able to download over 40 GB in one night, without ...
Vodafone halves 4G data prices: 4 GB at 255 | 22 GB for 999 Vodafone has halved data prices, six months after cutting them by about 40%.Under the new 4G tariff announced today, customers will get 4 GB of data for Rs 250 and 22 GB for Rs 999.These are roughly half of the prevailing data rates in the market.The current data price in the market is 2 GB for Rs 250 and 10 GB for Rs 999.Vodafone is also off...
1GB LIMIT: Reliance Jio starts restoring full speed at end of day Reliance Jio, India's largest provider of wireless data, has modified its bandwidth limitation policy to restore full speed for the subscriber under its Happy New Year offer the next day.So far, a 4G subscriber who crossed the daily FUP limit of 4GB or 1GB had to wait for exactly 24 hours for Jio to lift the speed limits.Under the new policy, he ...
Airtel doubles 3G speed in Delhi with more spectrum Bharti Airtel, India's top telecom provider, introduced its second 3G carrier in Delhi, more than doubling the speed of the existing network for most smartphones.Not only has the company introduced a second 'carrier' (block of spectrum) adjacent to the first one, it has also implemented the technology to merge the two blocks into one, thus boosting downl...
Idea Cellular increases free data in unlimited scheme by 4 times Idea Cellular today increased the free data allocation on its existing unlimited calling packs.Compared to 1 GB of 4G data that customers were getting with the Rs 348 pack, they will now get 4 GB.Similarly, the free data allocation for those who do not have 4G handsets has been increased from 50 MB to 3 GB per month -- an increase of 60 times. ...
Bharti Airtel to launch pan-India Payments Bank tomorrow Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom company, will take a crucial step towards entering the financial services business as it launches its Payments Bank operation across India tomorrow.Payments Bank refers to a limited operations bank that can be primarily used for making transactions, and not for depositing money.The operator has already start...
SUPERHOUR: The SECRET behind Vodafone’s Rs 16 offer It is no secret that India's second biggest telecom operator by revenue -- Vodafone -- is under threat from a rapidly growing No 3 -- Idea Cellular -- and an aggressive newcomer -- Reliance Jio.Though Idea is still behind the British firm when it comes to total revenue, Idea has already overtaken Vodafone as far as the data business is concerned, acc...
Vodafone 4G reaches UP West; Goa, Chennai, Punjab next Vodafone has launched its 4G network in UP West and Uttarakhand offering "4 times" as much data for a 1GB pack.Among the first wave of cities are Dehradun, Haridwar, Aligarh, Nainital and nine other prominent business, tourism and educational hubs."4G services will soon be available across several other major towns across the circle by March 2017...
Bharti Airtel offers 3GB of 4G data free per month for one year, with conditions Bharti Airtel, which has come up with various 'free data' schemes of late, has kicked off one more such scheme -- offering 3 GB of free data per month for those availing certain handpicked recharge and billing schemes.For prepaid users, the free data is available if they recharge Rs 345 per month. The Rs 345 recharge also gives free unlimited voice calls...
TRAI wants FREE DATA for everyone, without ‘gatekeeping’ by telcos India's telecom regulator has suggested that every rural citizen should be given 100 MB or so per month on a free basis to help the spread of digital revolution in the country. It has also suggested allowing 'third party aggregators' like Facebook to offer free data, but only if they can keep telecom companies totally out of such efforts.Both suggestions...
Bharti Airtel completes pan-India 4G with Assam; offers 10 GB for Rs 249 Bharti Airtel launche its 4G services in Assam, starting with Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. "With this, customers in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia can now enjoy high speed mobile broadband on Airtel 4G and get on to the digital superhighway to enjoy uninterrupted HD video streaming, superfast uploading and downloading of movies, music and images," the company said. ...
Bharti Airtel boosts talk-time on recharges by up to 30% Airtel now offers Rs 220 talktime on Rs 200Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecom company, has started giving 'more than full' talktime on easy recharges that can be done from any vendor.The lowest such denomination of Rs 200, which will now give Rs 220 in terms of talk time, according to dealers.Earlier, a recharge of Rs 200 would have given a ...