Reliance Jio 4G speeds to increase as co spends 57k cr on spectrum

Reliance Jio, India’s largest telecom operator, increased its spectrum holding by 55% after it spent over Rs 57,000 cr in the just concluded auction, and will seen an increase in its 4G speeds in coming days.

The company emerged as the biggest spender in the auction, and has reportedly purchased spectrum worth nearly twice the amount committed by nearest rival Bharti Airtel.

However, Jio had little choice in the matter, given that it was all set to lose access to spectrum owned by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications in a matter of months as that company’s 20-year license term ended.

Moreover, it would also lose access to the copious amounts of spectrum it had purchased ‘second hand’ from RCom as that too had validity similar to that of RCom’s license.

Out of the Rs 57,123 cr spent by Jio in this auction, around Rs 32,000 cr is estimated to have been spent for renewing or bolstering its holdings in this 800 MHz band, also known as the CDMA band.

It is estimated to have spent another 11,000 cr or so for increasing its holding in the 4G ‘capacity band’ — also known as band 40 or 2300 MHz.

It is estimated to have spend the remaining amount of around Rs 14,000 cr on purchasing spectrum in the 4G ‘mid’ band of 1800 MHz, also known as the 2G band.

Overall, it purchased around 267 MHz (133.75*2) in the 800 MHz band, around 149 (74.6*2) MHz in the 1800 band and 280 MHz in the 2300 TDD band.

The final chart showed that Jio and Bharti Airtel avoided hurting each other by bidding against each other in the 2300 MHz capacity band.

In all the 16 circles where only 20 MHz of spectrum was on offer, Jio purchased only 10 MHz, leaving the other half for Bharti Airtel or Vodafone Idea.

In the six circles where 40 MHz was on offer, Jio took exactly half or 20 MHz each, again indicating that it was generous enough to leave the other half to the other players.

As a result of the acquisition of this capacity spectrum, Jio’s 4G capacity/speed in this crucial band should increase across the country by around 33% as soon as the spectrum is handed over — which should happen in a matter of days.

In some circles, such as Punjab, UP, Rajasthan, J&K and Haryana, Jio’s 4G capacity in band 40 will double when the new spectrum is handed over, as it was holding only 20 MHz earlier, and it has acquired an equal amount now.

Jio now has exactly half, or 40 MHz, out of the total 80 MHz of spectrum available in band 40 in all circles in India.

Almost all of the other half is with Bharti Airtel, though Vodafone Idea has taken nibbles out of this block in three circles — Maharashtra, MP and Kerala.

“The acquired spectrum can be utilised for transition to 5G services at the appropriate time, where Jio has developed its own 5G stack,” the company said.

Chairman Mukesh Ambani said the new spectrum will ease the 5G rollout for the operator.

“We want to ensure that we keep on enhancing experiences, not only for our existing customers, but also for the next 300 million users that will move to digital services. With our increased spectrum footprint, we are ready to further expand the digital footprint in India as well as get ourselves ready for the imminent 5G rollout.”

Circle800 MHz band(FDD)1800 MHz band(FDD)2300 MHz band(TDD)
Andhra Pradesh6.254.2010.00
Himachal Pradesh5.000.0010.00
Jammu & Kashmir0.000.0020.00
Madhya Pradesh5.003.6010.00
North East0.003.6010.00
Tamil Nadu10.003.2010.00
Uttar Pradesh (East)5.003.6020.00
Uttar Pradesh (West)5.005.0020.00
West Bengal10.000.0010.00