The operator and circle wise results of the 2014 spectrum auction in India has thrown up quite a few surprises, including the fact that the 900 MHz spectrum price was driven up by Idea Cellular, and not Reliance Jio as expected. (See the results chart below.)
The biggest surprise of the spectrum auction results of 2014 is that Reliance Jio Infocomm, the subsidiary of Reliance Industries, did not win even a single megahertz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band in any of the circles, including Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
Vodafone maintained its 11 MHz of 900 MHz spectrum allocation in Mumbai, which contributes a large chunk of its profits from India.
The spectrum auction results chart also means that Idea Cellular is likely to soon launch 3G services in Delhi on the 900 MHz band. Idea Cellular had been prevented from adding new subscribers to its 3G services by the courts after the government objected to a intra-circle roaming agreement with Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone India Ltd.
Idea Cellular Ltd took its 5 MHz of 3G-enabled spectrum partly from Vodafone and partly from Bharti Airtel in the Delhi circle. While both of them used to have about 7-8 MHz there, after the spectrum auction, Bharti ended up with only 6 and Vodafone with 5 MHz (see spectrum auction results chart.)
Another surprise is that Reliance Jio Infocomm did not win pan-India spectrum as was widely expected. It won spectrum in only 14 out of the 22 circles or license areas in India.
Bharti Airtel decisively won the spectrum auction by winning the most amount of spectrum. It won spectrum in 13 circles, and won a lot.
Airtel was closely followed by Vodafone India, which won spectrum in the auction in 11 circles, followed by Idea Cellular 12 circles.
Telenor subsidiary Telewings was number 5 in the auction results, winning spectrum in five circles – Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, UP East and UP West.
According to the results of the auction — the only one to be held in 2014 — Aircel won spectrum in Jammu & Kashmir, North East, UP East and West Bengal. Reliance Communication won spectrum only in the Mumbai circle in the 1800 MHz band and that too a meagre amount of 1.5 MHz.
In the crucial circles of Assam, Telenor Telewings was a surprise winner, as was Reliance Jio.
As too, Telenor Telewings won the only spectrum block available in Bihar.