Operators in India will be able to keep 2.5MHz of higher-quality 900MHz spectrum after the country switches to the 1800MHz band.
The country’s government made the decision to switch to address network capacity issues in the face of growing data demand. Although it will require more infrastructure, 1800MHz spectrum can relay more traffic than 900MHz – operators will be obliged to invest in rolling out towers that are compatible with the spectrum.
Operators have been granted the right to retain 2.5MHz of their spectrum as otherwise they may be unable to maintain connectivity in the wake of the transition. However, they will be charged a fee based on the prices of the upcoming spectrum auctions, and any additional capacity they desire must be acquired in the bidding.
The 1800MHz spectrum will be auctioned from 12th November. The spectrum is being re-auctioned after the Indian Supreme Court ruled that the original 2008 licensing process was invalid. Auctions to retain 900MHz spectrum will be held in March.