Government shafting mobile operators, it suggests
Vodafone has underlined its commitment to emerging markets, with news that it has spent £1.9 billion in India to enhance mobile services there – but has moaned strongly at the cost. Last night [13th February 2014] the UK operator claimed that the price paid for India’s new telecoms licences would leave companies saddled with debts for years and harm consumers, after the government celebrated raising 610 billion rupees, more than treble initial forecasts.
Under the deal, the UK operator has been awarded spectrum licences in 11 telecom circles in the Indian government’s 900 MHz and 1800 MHZ spectrum auction.
The operator’s India spin-off now has 23MHz in the 900MHz band in Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata and 49MHZ in the 1800MHz band in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat, UP East, Rajasthan, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.
Vodafone India has already established a strong platform for 4G data services by buying 1800MHz spectrum in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Karnataka and Kerala, which account for more than half of data revenues.
They are expected to drive the adoption of 4G as was the case after the introduction of 3G services in 2010.
Vodafone India also maintained its overall holdings of 900 MHz spectrum in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, and purchased 1800 MHz spectrum in four circles where its licences are due for extension in 2015.
Vodafone India has over 160 million customers, with the number of mobile internet users increasing 38 per cent to 45.7 million in its most recent quarter.
Data usage also continues to grow strongly with 3G usage now averaging in excess of 700MB per month.