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Decoding the relay race of spectrum bands — from running strength to stamina

INR150,173 crore. That’s what the government raked in from the recently concluded spectrum auction. It’s a record collection for spectrum auctions, which have taken place in India since 2012.

There were more records:

  • Record collection from auction proceeds, even though 71% of spectrum was sold.

  • The maximum amount of spectrum across bands was put under the hammer.

  • The pricey 700MHz bands saw bids for the first time ever since it was put up for auction in 2016.

All said and done, this was a good auction after years. But wondering what the different spectrum bands mean and how they are deployed in a particular geography with different densities of population? That’s what this piece in the Prime Decoder series sets out to answer.

Spectrum bands: the runners of the network relay race

Here’s an analogy to simplify the characteristics of various spectrum bands. Consider spectrum bands — 700MHz, 1,800MHz, 26GHz, and so on — as runners or athletes with different capabilities, such as sprint, middle distance, or marathon. Given this analogy, here’s how the propagation or coverage and capacity characteristics of different spectrum bands would look like.


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