Relatively weak data capacity could lead to loss of data revenue market share in the medium term. Consequently, we expect Idea to invest upfront on both 3G and 4G capacity instead of either 3G or 4G.
We expect Idea to focus on building pan-India 3G and 4G network capacity on 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands. Investment on 700MHz at this stage might not be viable from financial / operational perspective for Idea Cellular. Ecosystem for LTE rollout on 2300MHz band is almost at par with 1800MHz band and abundant supply in this round gives an opportunity.
Idea does not hold 3G and 4G LTE spectrum in nine and 12 circles, respectively. We expect Idea to complete pan-India presence in 2100MHz spectrum (except Delhi, where 3G would be offered on 900MHz). The company in select circles will add an additional carrier of 2300MHz for 4G LTE wherein bidding could be aggressive for 1800MHz.
Idea could buy 100-110MHz across two bands with a total outlay of Rs150-160bn. Any potential plans of M&A or spectrum trading could drive a change in the auction strategy.