India is also one of the largest telecommunication markets in the world. Having large geography and population, India also has the largest growth of mobile subscribers and technology development. Total subscribers in India have already crossed 1 billion mark. Now the number of telecom subscribers in India is 1.2 billion, as of July 2021. The total subscribers in mainly dominated by mobile subscribers in 2G, 3G, and 4G. Which also requires a higher chunk of frequencies in different spectrum bands. So, in this post, we are updating different spectrum bands in 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G mobiles. That will also help people to check the band and technology before buying smartphones and the device to use in India.
Among the mobile technology standards, GSM and CDMA technology are still there for 2G. Operators like Vodafone-Idea, Airtel, BSNL, Tata, Aircel have a large subscriber base in GSM 2G technology which operates in 900 and 1800 MHz. As India is a large country, the licensing regime for India is available in circles. So, the frequency allocation and the bandwidth differs circle by circle. However, operators like Reliance Communication, MTS, BSNL, and Tata have very fewer CDMA subscribers. For CDMA technology, the frequency band used in India is 850 MHz. As this frequency is also popular for 4G LTE technology, CDMA will be ultimately phased out to die very soon. So, most operators have already liberalized this band to use it for 4G LTE service.
All of the major operators started 3G UMTS in the 2100 MHz band. Operators have also started re-farming their 900 MHz band (which is a frequency band of GSM) to use it for UMTS. Airtel, Idea is also using 3G UMTS in 900 MHz, for some of the circles. So, if you want to use 3G in India, you should check for the availability of both the bands 2100 MHz and 900 MHz in the device either phone or dongles.
For 4G, there are mainly three frequency bands in India. Jio, the 4G only operator crossed 100 million subscribers in a short period of time. Similarly, Jio operates 4G in all of the three 4G LTE bands namely Band 3, Band 5, and Band 40. However, talking in MHz, those bands are 1800 Mhz, 850 MHz, and 2300 MHz. Out of which, 1800 and 850 MHz are FDD technology whereas 2300 MHz band is TDD technology. Airtel and Idea Vodafone own 4G LTE in both 1800 MHz and 2300 MHz.
Further, considering the capacity and competition, operators are seeking new spectrum bands to use for 4G LTE. Idea Vodafone also uses LTE in TDD 2500 MHz band which is the most popular band in China. Sooner or later, the most expensive 700 MHz and the popular 2.6 GHz bands will also launch for 4G LTE service. Frequency bands of 2G and 3G like 900 MHz and 2100 MHz can also use 4G if more subscribers move from either 2G or 3G to 4G.
5G Spectrum band in India
Recently, Indian telcos are awarded spectrums for 5G technology in 3300 MHz (n77), 26 GHz (n258) and 700MHz (n28) bands via first 5G Spectrum auction. Similarly, the already existing bands like 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, got their owner too for 5G. So, as the spectrum bands are allocated for the telcos, we can expect the commercial operations of 5G prolly in 2023.
Here is a table for the different frequency bands in India for mobile technology 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G.
Mobile Technology in India
Frequency bands in India
900 MHz, 1800 MHz
Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Aircel, BSNL
Reliance, BSNL, Tata
2100 MHz, 900 MHz
Airtel, Vodafone Idea
4G LTE (4G)
Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Jio
Airtel, Vodafone Idea, Jio
BSNL, Vodafone Idea
Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea,
Airtel, Jio, Vodafone Idea
900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz,
Read Frequency bands for 2G, 3G, 4G in the US and China.
If you have specific information for the frequency bands in India, do let us know below in the comment.