If we compare the spectrum availability, data usage (DOU) per subscriber and data penetration of the Indian Telcos with those in China / South Korea will tell if Indian operators have have adequate spectrum for a 3G/4G roll-out over the medium term.
Indian telcos have 178 MHz of liberalized spectrum per circle, significantly lower than 395MHz / 300MHz of data spectrum (3G/4G) in China/Korea. India also has 8 players per circle as compared with 3 in Korea/China, leading to significantly lower spectrum per operator. However, current 3G/4G penetration in India is only about 10% vs 50%/70% for China/Korea. Consequently, spectrum per 3G/4G per subscriber is higher in India than in China.
Wireless Broadband Data volumes in India have been growing at close to 100% over the last few quarters. For our coverage, data use per data subscriber as of June 2015 stood at 729 MB/month, similar to China Mobile 4G users at about 700 MB/month. However, given 3G/4G penetration for CM is close to 50%, total data volumes on its network are higher – CM carried 1,084 bn MBs of data during the first six months of CY15 vs Airtel / Idea carrying 189bn/117bn MBs over the same time period.