Vodafone share price: Company spends £2.8 billion on Indian mobile spectrum
Vodafone Group Plc’s (LON:VOD)Indian arm has paid £2.8 billion to acquire spectrum in 12 of the country’s telecom regions, or circles, including six in which it already operated. The investment will allow Vodafone to significantly expand its presence in one of its most important markets.
“Vodafone India successfully bought spectrum in all six of its 900 MHz circles due for extension in December 2015,” the company said yesterday in a statement. “Significantly expanding its 3G capabilities, Vodafone India acquired 5 MHz of 900 MHz band spectrum in Odisha and added a further 30 MHz of spectrum in the 2100 MHz band in six new circles.”
Vodafone India added that the new and existing licenses would help it expand its 3G coverage in the country to 16 circles, from nine. The company noted that these circles represented 88 percent of its service revenues.
To secure the valuable spectrum, Vodafone invested more than the £2.3 billion that the entire UK telecoms industry paid in the 4G auction two years ago. In total, the Indian auction raised nearly £12 billion for the country’s government. This is partly due to the fact that the Indian telecoms market is broken into regions, which means that larger networks have to bid for spectrum across multiple regions. However, the huge size of the sale also underscores the fierce competition among operators in the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market. The bulk of the sum was generated by the three largest mobile carriers in India – Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.
In today’s trading, Vodafone shares were up 1.1 percent at 226.40p, as of 10:39 UTC. The stock has gained 1.7 percent since the start of the year. The group’s market capitalisation currently stands at just over £60 billion.
As of 13:27 GMT, Friday, 27 March, Vodafone Group plc share price is 226.10p.