Idea Cellular has made a capex plan of Rs 6000 crore for the current fiscal for expansion that includes upgrading its network on more advanced 2300 Mhz spectrum band.
The company also has plans for rolling out its network on 2500Mhz spectrum in fiscal 2019 and introduction of LTE based voice services .
At present, Idea has a overall spectrum holding of 891.2 MHz across 900, 1800, 2100, 2300 & 2500 MHz equips it with an ability to roll out broadband which can carry 15-20 times of its current mobile data traffic, said the company.
“ The capex guidance for FY18 is Rs 60 billion, an investment earmarked for expanding broadband coverage, increase wireless data capacity with planned launch of 2300 MHz spectrum network (2500 MHz spectrum rollout slated for FY19) & introduction of LTE voice services etc”.
It said during FY17, Idea has integrated highest ever network telecom site count of 50,004 sites (2G+3G+4G), expanding its network sites on GSM (2G), HSPA (3G) and LTE (4G) to an overall EoP of 241,540 sites, including 70% increase in its wireless broadband site (3G+4G) count from 64,703 sites as on March 31, 2016 to 110,054 sites as of March 31, 2017.
The wireless broadband population under coverage now expands beyond 500 million Indians in 21 service areas on Idea’s own broadband spectrum. The company has also expanded its fibre network by 25% from 115,500 km (March 31, 2016) to 144,600 km as on March 31, 2017.
The overall capex spend for the year was Rs. 78.5 billion, mainly funded from FY17 Cash Profit at Rs. 69.4 billion. The company’s Gross Investment in Fixed Assets has risen to nearly Rs. 1,185 billion, an addition of Rs. 198 billion in last 12 months. The monetisation of this front loaded large investment in spectrum & equipment is inevitable as Digital India mission gathers momentum.