This is because both would like to fill the gaps they have in terms of their 3G/4G holding. According to estimates, while Vodafone’s outgo is likely to be around R24,907 crore at the reserve price, Idea’s could be around R16,201 crore.
Bharti Airtel, which has the maximum spectrum holding currently, both qualitatively and quantitatively, is likely to see a much lower outgo at R7,610 crore.
Even for Reliance Jio, the total outflow will be around Rs 7,869 crore as it comes next to Bharti in terms of spectrum holding.
Currently, while Bharti and RJio have the capability to offer 4G services across the 22 circles, Vodafone can provide it in only nine circles and Idea in 11.
Vodafone’s outflow has been estimated on the assumption that it will pick up 20 MHz in the 2300/2500 MHz band in all the circles, as it currently does not have broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum in any of the 22 circles.
It may also plug its 3G gaps in the 2100 MHz band. In the 1800 MHz band, the company needs to acquire spectrum in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, northeast, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (West) and West Bengal, where it either does not have 1800 MHz spectrum or it is insufficient for providing 4G.
Similarly, in the case of Idea, the assumption is that will fill its 3G gaps in circles where it does not have spectrum in the 2100 MHz band, and pick up spectrum in the 1800 MHz band wherever possible. The company may not fill all its gap in the 3G space and thus within the same amount can acquire 1800 MHz for 4G in more circles, thus enhancing its 4G coverage to 20 out of 22 circles.
Bharti is likely to pick up an additional 10 MHz in the 2300 MHz band in the circles where the spectrum offered in this band is adjacent to its existing assignment (to avoid the risk of harmonisation). It may also pick up an additional 20 MHz in 2300/2500 MHz band and 5 MHz in the 2100 MHz band in all the circles where it does not have any 3G/BWA spectrum. In 1800 MHz band, Bharti may pick spectrum in Maharashtra, J&K and Assam, where it does not have 4G spectrum in this band.
RJio has picked up sufficient spectrum in the past auctions. It has also shared/traded spectrum in the 800 MHz band with RCom. Hence, it may not pick up spectrum except in the 2300 MHz band — to create a continuous block of 30 MHz — and to plug holes if any in the 1800 MHz band. It may pick up spectrum in 800 MHz in some circles like Gujarat, Rajasthan, and UP (E).