Amidst rising demand for data, Indian telcos want as much 4G spectrum as possible

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Telecom operators in India are looking forward to get hold of additional 4G spectrum so that they can fulfil the rising demand for high-speed network.

It was for this purpose that Bharti Airtel decided to buy Tikona Digital's 4G business ; this shows that even the established telcos in India are relying heavily on 4G capacity spectrum for happy customers in the future.

Also read: Next spectrum auction could see telecom companies spending Rs 1 lakh crore

"When you see a monumental jump in data consumption demand in a very short span, any Jio competitor will need to tank up on 4G capacity spectrum at the earliest to support comparable data services offerings to ring-fence the experience of upper-tier customers, especially video content," Sanjay Kapoor (former CEO of Bharti Airtel) told ET.

He added that Jio has almost "overnight triggered a near thirtyfold jump in data offered to subscribers." While earlier, the average data offered was 750-900 MB per customer per month earlier, but it has now gone up to 28 GB per customer per month.

This has led to the existing carriers investing in 4G capacity spectrum in the 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.

Ever since Jio has announced its 'Prime' offerings which would enable its customers to continue using free services at nominal charges, India’s top three mobile carriers, viz. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, have taken aggressive measures to prevent customer churn. While Airtel decided to acquire Tikona’s services, Idea and Vodafone India merged to form a new entity.

Also read: Telecom experts think Jio could still beat Voda-Idea in short term

Kapoor, however, is of the view that these companies need to look beyond investing in 4G capacity spectrum alone. This, he said, needs to be "backed with sizeable capex/opex in electronics (base stations, routers and antennae), backhaul and customer experience to make meaningful sense of the raw material, as in capacity airwaves."

(Image source: EpicTimes)
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