RCom and Vodafone discussing spectrum sharing in Delhi and Mumbai

Reliance Communications (RCom) and Vodafone India are reportedly negotiating a spectrum-sharing agreement for 3G spectrum in Delhi and Mumbai.

Both operators hold 5MHz of 2.1GHz spectrum in each of the cities; however, RCom’s 3G capacity in these circles is under-utilised while Vodafone India’s are congested. The 2 metropolises are the most lucrative areas in the country in terms of generating revenue for operators.

The operators already have a 2G roaming deal that covers 5 telecom circles in the east of India, which stands the agreement in good stead – some sources have claimed that a deal could be reached within a month. Revisions to the country’s spectrum sharing and trading rules were approved in August, which has prompted several operators to forge new agreements to share spectrum.

RCom has been a key player in spectrum-sharing agreements, having struck the first such deal with Reliance Jio following the change in legislation. The operators share 800MHz spectrum across 10 telecom circles, and have agreed – but not finalised - a strategic partnership to trade and share frequencies in the 800-850MHz band, which will allow RCom to augment its 4G service.

Vodafone India is the number two player in India with a 19% market share. Its 23 million 3G connections make up around 13% of its total customer base. While RCom takes fourth place overall, it has more 3G subscribers than Vodafone – 24.6 million overall, which represents 22% of its subscribers. 

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