IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Valuation of 3G spectrum license in India: A real option approach

Listed author(s):
  • Sinha, Pankaj
  • Mudgal, Hemant

India is about to enter a new technological phase as far as mobile technology is concerned. After almost a decade of existence, Third Generation (3G) mobile technology will be rolled out in India. The licenses for the same were auctioned in April – May 2010 and 3G licenses were allocated to the winners in September 2010. Nine private telecom operators entered the bidding for the license and eventually seven won the licenses. The bidding was intense and eventually the aggregate fees of the license as received by the government were almost twice the expected amount. In the backdrop of experience of 3G auction winners in UK and Germany who paid huge sums to acquire the 3G licenses and later lost their market capitalization as the markets perceived that the price paid for the license was more than the actual value of the license, analysts in India were concerned if the operators had paid too much for the licenses. In this report aggregate value of the 3G licenses is calculated using both traditional discounted cash flow approach and real options approach. We find that the rollout of 3G services gives an internal rate of return of 14.2%over the life of the license. If we assume an internal rate of return of 15% for the telecom operators then the aggregate license value comes out to be INR 594 Billion which is 12% lower than what the operators have paid to acquire the license. We also found out that the value of the license as calculated from the real options methodology is INR 798 Billion which is 17.8% higher than the aggregate value paid by the operators. Hence we see that DCF valuation suggests that the licenses were overvalued while Real Options methodology suggests that the licenses were undervalued. The report discusses the reasons for differences between real option valuation and DCF valuation of the license, the possible challenges that the 3Goperators might face in the short to long term and what are the key enablers for the growth of3G services if they want to extract the maximum mileage out of the 3G technology. The report recommends that in future while allocating telecom licenses or licenses in sectors where high and irreversible investment is required and there is a scope for the licensees to invest in phases or in modules, the government should consider real options methodology for setting the price of the license., or the base price of the licenses in case the government decides to follow an auction methodology

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 31281.

in new window

Date of creation: 15 Apr 2011
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:31281
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ludwigstraße 33, D-80539 Munich, Germany

Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2459
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-992459
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Aswath Damodaran, 2000. "The Promise Of Real Options," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 13(2), pages 29-44.
  2. Tanguturi, Venkata Praveen & Harmantzis, Fotios C., 2006. "Migration to 3G wireless broadband internet and real options: The case of an operator in India," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 400-419, August.
  3. Alleman, James, 0. "A new view of telecommunications economics," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 87-92, February.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:31281. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.