Pan India Telecom Spectrum holding chart 2021

The basic concepts of telecom airwaves explained in a nutshell. A bird’s eye view of the entire spectrum holding of all telecom operators in India.

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Highlights

  • Reliance Jio holds spectrum in 850 MHz/ 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz bands
  • Bharti Airtel holds spectrum in 850 MHz/ 900 MHz/ 1800 MHz/ 2100 MHz and 2300 MHz bands
  • Vodafone Idea holds spectrum in 900 MHz/ 1800 MHz/ 2100 MHz/ 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands
  • BSNL/MTNL holds spectrum in 900 MHz/ 1800 MHz/ 2100 MHz and 2500 MHz bands

Spectrum is for telecommunication what fuel is for aviation. Spectrum is a range of electromagnetic frequencies or airwaves which are used by the telecom companies for establishing a connection between a cell tower and a mobile phone. The bandwidth of this spectrum is directly proportional to the speed of a wireless data network (since more data can be transmitted simultaneously through a broader data pipeline) whereas the frequency is inversely proportional to the coverage (since lower frequencies penetrate better through physical barriers and thus have wider coverage).

The spectrum holding data sheet embedded in this article represents the current spectrum holdings of all active telecom operators across all frequency bands across all 22 telecom circles along with their liberalisation status and expiry dates (Spectrum is allotted for a period of 20 years). All figures represented are in MHz. The value mentioned in the bracket beside the frequency at the base of each sheet is the band number where ‘B’ stands for 4G LTE band whereas ‘n’ stands for the corresponding 5G NR band.

Spectrum was administratively allocated to operators in each of the 22 licensed service areas or circles pre 2010, this spectrum is called non-liberalised and can only be used for 2G services whereas all airwaves allotted post-2010 has been through a Spectrum Auction where operators have paid market discovered price and this spectrum is called liberalised and can be used for any technology platform 2G/3G/4G/5G.

Spectrum may be paired or unpaired, bands 1/3/5/8/28 are all paired where one set of frequencies is used for uplink whereas another distinct set of frequencies is used for downlink known as Frequency-division duplexing (FDD), whereas bands 40/41/42 are unpaired where both uplink and downlink happens in the same set of frequencies separated by the time of uplink and downlink known as Time-division duplexing (TDD).

List of Indian FDD Bands:

4G LTE band5G NR bandUplink frequency range (MHz)Downlink frequency range (MHz)Bandwidth for telecom (MHz)Block size (MHz)
B1n11939-19792129-216940×25×2
B3n31710-17651805-186054.8×20.2×2
B5n5824-844869-88917.5×21.25×2
B8n8890-915935-96023.2×20.2×2
B28n28718-748773-80330×25×2
Note: The frequency ranges and total bandwidth mentioned are specific to Indian telecom.

List of Indian TDD Bands:

4G LTE band5G NR bandFrequency range (MHz)Bandwidth for
telecom (MHz)
Block size (MHz)
B40n402300-23808010
B41n412535-2555 2635-26554010
B42n783425-3600175?
Note: The frequency ranges and total bandwidth mentioned are specific to Indian telecom.
New Spectrum Portfolio 2021

There is a spectrum cap that dictates how much spectrum a particular operator can hold in a circle in a particular band. An operator can own the right to use spectrum only in a quantum less than or equal to 50% of the combined available spectrum in all sub GHz bands (Band28+Band5+Band8) in a given licensed service area (circle) and less than or equal to 35% of the total available spectrum across all bands put together in a given licensed service area

Sub GHz spectrum holdings of private operators (in MHz) and Caps:

CircleViAirtelJioCap
AP10182070.7
Assam0161065.7
Bihar022.42070.7
Delhi20122070.7
Gujarat228.42067.7
Haryana24.4102066.1
HP0202070.7
J & K012.41061.1
Karnataka1017.62070.7
Kerala24.89.22070.7
Kolkata14142070.7
MP & CG14.8102070.7
Maharashtra28102070.7
Mumbai22103070.7
North East0201065.7
Odisha1022.42070.7
Punjab11.2202069.3
Rajasthan12.8122066.1
Tamil Nadu10102070.7
UP East11.222.42070.7
UP West22.4101066.1
West Bengal14.818.82070.7
Total282.4325.6410

Overall spectrum holdings of private operators (in MHz) and Caps:

CircleViAirtelJioCap
AP43.2100.880157.85
Assam80106.970154.35
Bihar55.6118.480157.85
Delhi71.27680157.85
Gujarat113.688.480155.75
Haryana1069080154.63
HP42.410080.8157.85
J & K54102.470151.13
Karnataka50107.680157.85
Kerala114.879.280157.85
Kolkata846480157.85
MP & CG929080157.85
Maharashtra122.89080157.85
Mumbai91.27290157.85
North East81.610070154.35
Odisha74101.280157.85
Punjab71.210080156.87
Rajasthan82.810280154.63
Tamil Nadu62.810080157.85
UP East91.2104.480157.85
UP West92.410070154.63
West Bengal91.698.881.2157.85
Total1768.42092.11732

Apart from auctions, operators can buy or sell spectrum usage rights from each other which is called spectrum trading. Operators may also sign a spectrum sharing agreement to pool their spectrum holdings to achieve more bandwidth, Jio currently has an active spectrum sharing agreement with Rcom in Assam and North East circles. Only intra-band spectrum sharing is permitted where both operators need to hold spectrum in the same band in a given circle, inter-band spectrum leasing is not allowed.


Note: We update this chart in realtime to ensure it is always up to date with the latest changes in spectrum holding. Certain human errors might have crept in during manual compilation of the data, any mistakes/ rectification can be brought to the notice of the Team through the comments section below.

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Avatar of Esmail Beguwala
Esmail Beguwala

Senior Editor

Esmail is passionate about the Telecom spectrum, Broadband data services, and video streaming devices. When not writing an article, you can find him binge-watching shows on OTT apps, while sipping on a cup of coffee.

Comments (899)Forum replies (41)

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Have updated the spectrum holding for Vodafone Idea after the recent disclosure in the Q4 report. Liberalisation status for 900 and 1800 MHz holdings updated. 1800 MHz spectrum bought in 2012 auction in a block size of 1.25 MHz has been rounded up to the next higher number divisible by a 0.2 MHz block size so as to keep uniformity with the block size followed in all subsequent auctions for this band.

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4G LTE and 5G NR band details with frequency range and bandwidth used by Indian Telecom details added in tabular form.

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