India’s largest telecom operator, Reliance Jio, on Tuesday said it has successfully acquired spectrum in all 22 circles in the just-concluded auctions, and that its owned radiowave footprint has risen “significantly” by 55 per cent through the acquisition. Jio – which emerged as the top buyer picking up spectrum for Rs 57,122.65 crore in the auctions – said it has well-balanced spectrum for services and future upgradation to 5G technology.
In all, India’s first auction of telecom spectrum in five years fetched Rs 77,814.80 crore. Bharti Airtel acquired spectrum worth Rs 18,698.7 crore while Vodafone Idea picked up airwaves for Rs 1,993.40 crore.
Reliance Jio said its acquired spectrum can be utilised for transition to 5G services at the “appropriate time”, where it has developed its own 5G stack.
Jio – which had 408.7 million subscribers as on December — has acquired spectrum in 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands in the spectrum auctions that concluded on Tuesday.
Airwaves come in different bands which support different propagation characteristics for transmission of voice and data. For instance, lower bands like 800 MHz and 900 MHz support a good indoor coverage while higher bands like 2300 MHz have a good carrying capacity.
The airwaves are also sold in quantities measured as MHz. The auctions allows companies to use Government owned airwaves for carrying signals for data and voice, for a particular period of time.
In a statement, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman, Reliance Industries, said: “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.”
Jio has revolutionised the digital landscape of India, with the country becoming the fastest adopter of digital life, he said.
“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,” Ambani added.
In the 800 MHz band, Jio has acquired spectrum for Rs 34,491 crore, in 1800 MHz for Rs 12,461 crore, and in 2300 MHz for Rs 10,170 crore, as per provisional estimates cited in the company release.
The upfront payment in 800 MHz amounts to Rs 8,623 crore, in 1800 MHz (Rs 6,231 crore) and 2300 MHz (Rs 5,085 crore), with balance to be paid in due course as ‘deferred payment’.
“Through this acquisition, RJIL’s total owned spectrum footprint has increased significantly, by 55 per cent to 1,717 MHz,” Jio statement said.
The spectrum has been acquired in the most cost-efficient manner with an effective cost of Rs 60.8 crore per MHz.
“With the enhanced spectrum footprint, especially contiguous spectrum, and pan-India infrastructure deployed, RJIL has enhanced network capacity to service its existing users as well as hundreds of millions of more subscribers on its network,” the statement said.