Column : Costing spectrum refarming
The final impact for any operator would be equal to the cost of re-farming plus the cost of keeping/buying 900 MHz spectrum. For example, let’s say Vodafone faces a choice between (1) letting all its 900 MHz spectrum holding in the Mumbai circle be refarmed and reconfiguring its network completely for the new 1800 MHz spectrum, (2) paying a ‘market-determined’ price for its 900 MHz spectrum and not letting any of it be refarmed, and (3) letting some of its 900 MHz spectrum be refarmed and buying the rest—all three options entail a cost.
The optimal choice would be a function of the price/MHz of 900 spectrum (versus 1800 MHz) and the reconfiguration costs in the partial or full refarming case. Without knowing the price/MHz of 900 MHz spectrum, it is not possible to take a call on the relative impact of various modes of refarming. If the price of 900 MHz spectrum is too high, letting it all be re-farmed may turn out to be the right option.
The eventual choice would depend on 900 MHz pricing and would be operator-circle
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