4G in India: Why Jio-Bharti Telecom Infra Sharing Deal is a Logical Step?

Airtel 4G in IndaMany (of our readers as well as other telecom minds) are in a shock, when Reliance Jio Infocomm joins hands with Bharti Infratel, the passive infra provider arm of Bharti Airtel which is considered to be the arch-rival of Reliance Industries on telecom landscape.

With the alliance in the infrastructure space between Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm it can be considered that Jio can not offer that dirt cheap tariff as Rs 10 per GB data.

In 2003 when Mukesh Ambani headed Reliance India Mobile launched its services, the competition was between a mere 50 paisa postcard and a mobile phone as Dhirubhai told. But this time, the re-entry of Mukesh can be explained best as how they can keep their promises to change the country’s digital landscape.

Reliance JioJio at present has one main issue – that is to meet the roll out obligation and for that they have to fasten the OFC laying in all circles. That’s why they are partnering with multiple companies – in April Reliance Communications’ OFC network and Airtel’s i2i submarine cable network, in June RCom’s towers and now Bharti Infratel’s as well as Indus Towers’ tower and optic fiber networks.

But it does not mean Jio is going assest light mode, they are laying own OFC across all circles in a war-going foot. Not only that Jio had brought several foriegn operators to create their own submarine cable – Bay of Bengal gateway. Samsung is delivering the 4G LTE-TD BTS to Jio and less than 10% of total demand has been fulfilled.

To set up own towers Reliance has online submission forms over its website, where interested people, who are willing to share their properties for towers/FTTH can contact them to become a part of India’s biggest Greenfield telecom project.

So at present Jio is not thinking about the tariff, rather they are focusing on the roll out plan that will offer a seamless wireless connectivity over 2300MHz band using LTE-TD technology. Airtel’s 4G venture did not able to reach many potential customers, especially on tier II and III cities and concentrating in main metros did not work as there already are many alternative to 4G broadband.

Jio chooses the right path, as there is no use of quick launch with cheap tariff unless it is not available to the potential customers. And Jio does not want to be messed up.

With the economic crisis and India’s telecom sector has lost its growth momentum, Jio takes the logical decision. Credit Suisse has noted in its report, “If the agreement between Bharti and R-Jio is taken to the full logical conclusion, it could mean a more benign competitive environment across tariffs, vendor negotiations, and even spectrum auctions,”

At this current scenario, where Jio may launch services in another 6 months in atleast 20 cities of the country the tariff of Jio’s 4G data will be fixed and it is to be cheaper than all other options to smackdown the market.

This deal is also good for Airtel, as it gives revenue to Bharti Infratel. Secondly Airtel will have the access to Jio’s OFC and towers as the deal is two-way sharing. Even Airtel may offer pan India 4G roaming to its 4G customers in 8 circles over Jio’s pan-India network.

This Article Was Written By: Rudradeep Biswas

Rudradeep Biswas - Senior Telecom Analyst

The happy guy RDB (stands for Rudradeep Biswas) has been writing for Telecomtalk since 2009, covering mobile operators, 3G, broadband, WiFi, 4G, LTE, telecom policies and what-not related to Indian telecom. He is by profession a doctor, did his MBBS from R.G.Kar Medical College, Kolkata.

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  • Lalit December 16, 2013 9:43 am, 9:43 AM

    This joint collabration between Airtel & Reliane Jio is a known thing. This reduces the cost of about 40% to each operator. Due to the same, customer can get better services along with the better plans. Believe Mukesh coming back into Telecom will change the phase of telecom again

  • karna December 14, 2013 6:06 pm, 6:06 PM

    “Even Airtel may offer pan India 4G roaming to its 4G customers in 8 circles over Jio’s pan-India network”.

    you don’t know that “roaming agreement between operator, who don’t have spectrum in that circle is illegal, like it was in 3g roaming agreement”

    • Arunava December 15, 2013 8:44 pm, 8:44 PM

      You are wrong, it is permissible but not legal if sharing operator looking for subscriber for that circle where it has no license to operate.

  • Esmail December 14, 2013 3:39 pm, 3:39 PM

    I do not see any way they can provide truly unlimited LTE plans, there will surely be some sort of FUP also the per GB cost at launch will not be below Rs.80 which will later in a year or two come down to Rs.50 per GB but not below that, since LTE is a wireless technology which faces spectrum limitations, but after the launch of LTE we can expect the wired broadband providers to provide affordable truly unlimited plans. Also since Bharti and Jio have joined hands they will not compete among them selves and will sign a mutual agreement to keep the tariffs sufficiently high so as to cover the cost of infrastructure. Waiting for affordable FD-LTE on 1800MHz in 2014.

  • IMbest December 14, 2013 3:31 pm, 3:31 PM

    I Can Pay 3000 Rs For 2 Mbps Unlimited without FUP…Because We Dont Have Such Plans In our Tier 1 Cities

  • S.Tiwari December 14, 2013 3:11 pm, 3:11 PM

    It is not easy to give 4 G connectivity with Airtel/Reliance towers.As 2300MHz high frequency low wavelength band has worst coverage.Jio has to install equal no. of more towers beyond no. of towers they will be using from airtel/reliance.So coverage by them will be big issue

  • Rhishav Kumar Das (Kolkata) December 14, 2013 1:34 pm, 1:34 PM

    I think even if they don’t provide Truly Unlimited Plans they should keep Jio 4g Powered Wifi Access to the customers and make it unlimited. Bring up Hotspots at Cafes, Shops, Malls and Underground Raliways And other Significant stations and where ever possible. This would offload the Tower from Excessive traffic and yet keeping customers connected. This can be provided to them after they subscribe to certain plans. Say 5 Gb at Rs. 500 with Unlimited access to Wifi. Or 1 Gb at Rs. 100 And 500 Mb Wifi.
    1 GB internet at Rs. 100 is Quite affordable keeping in Mind the speed and coverage provided.

  • Akhil Mohan December 14, 2013 12:41 pm, 12:41 PM

    if they offer plans like 4GB at rs 500 i will be their first customer. I am eagerly waiting for a release from pathetic bsnl and cheater idea.

    I seriously hope they dont introduce unlimited plans. Because some download addicts will suck all the available bandwidth and make the other users pay for their rubbish downloads. Limited plans at cheap rate is what we want.

    • Tharun George December 14, 2013 1:30 pm, 1:30 PM

      4GB for Rs 500 is already here. If you are looking for broadband try Asianet, BSNL, Reliance or TATA. For Wireless try EVDO from BSNL, Docomo, Relaince, MTS

      Did you try Docomo 3G?

      I bet you will get satisfied with one service provider.

      • Akhil Mohan December 14, 2013 5:51 pm, 5:51 PM

        For wired broadband my only option is BSNL which I have been a user in the past. Other operators like Asianet or tata does not provide connection here. I was happy with BSNL broadband for about 1 year. Then some fault occured with the underground cable and they never cared about that. For 2 months I had no internet but had to pay the bill. I closed the connection.
        Then I started with combination of BSNL 3G and 2G. I used 1GB 3G plan and 8 GB 2G plan. Then BSNL service took a dip in quality especially after the unification of 2G and 3G plans. They never heared my complaints.

        Now using Idea 3G. 100% satisfied with speed and quality but tariffs are bit costly and false deduction of balance is a problem.

        DoCoMo cannot be considered as an ISP because they have that disconnection policy.

        I am not so sure about EVDO because I had a photon plus but it had some issues similar to BSNL like no internet during evening.

        I was not aware that MTS is in kerala circle. I may give it a try.

        • Tharun George December 14, 2013 6:37 pm, 6:37 PM

          BSNL EVDO is only available in very limited locations. Check kerala.bsnl.co.in for evdo locations. They have good plans with true unlimited Rs 55 for 2 days. Speed depends, but no one actually uses BSNL EVDO so quite faster than 3G. But should lucky to be in BSNL EVDO location.

          Do try MTS. I also suggest Reliance Netconnect+ which now comes with true night unlimited offer.

          • Akhil Mohan December 16, 2013 7:08 am, 7:08 AM

            thanx for the info. :)
            i will never ever go back to bsnl for internet.i will certainly try mts.

            • Tharun George December 16, 2013 6:19 pm, 6:19 PM

              If you are satisfied with Idea, better stay with them.

              I have many experience by Idea and Reliance deducting balance even when net pack active. If they do that all you have to do is send email to appellate.kerala@idea.adityabirla.com. You will get your money back within 48 hours.

              I got my money back even when it was my fault to use net without packs. Don’t bother calling customer care. Waste of time. They will never give your money back.

          • Nisanth December 16, 2013 10:05 am, 10:05 AM


            Are you able to access BSNL sites be it bsnl.co.in or kerala.bsnl.co.in
            Im not able to access both for long time….portal.bsnl. works not the other ones..

            • Tharun George December 16, 2013 6:16 pm, 6:16 PM

              Yep. BSNL sites can only be access by BSNL connections for long time. This happen about 2 years ago when BSNL site was hacked. After that they blocked all foreign IP’s. But it also blocked many Indian IP’s too.

              Reliance use IP range 101.xx.xx.xx and 115.xx.xx.xx. 115 IP can access BSNL site.

              But for the last few days i can access BSNL site both with Asianet and Reliance all IPs. Buts still all foreign IPS are blacklisted. Stupidest way to escape from hackers.

              • Nisanth P December 18, 2013 2:26 pm, 2:26 PM

                My IP is 118.xx. and was able to access. But since last 2 months its not going thru.. Never tried from BSNL ip…

  • Suvham December 14, 2013 12:23 pm, 12:23 PM

    Now, 4G is going to be launched in India, expect operators to hike 3G plans but if 4G data plans will cost as 50 RS for 1 GB, 200 RS for 10 GB which is highly unlikely to be true, it will not only boost the sales of 4G handsets but also, increase the user base for operators but this is just a dream.. /:

    • Tharun George December 14, 2013 1:26 pm, 1:26 PM

      The only way to sell 4G on 2300Mhz is to sell cheap. No device, No coverage. Only use of that spectrum is high speed Broadband. Even the Gov knows it and sold as BWA spectrum

      If it is not cheap it will be total failure. Why would someone buy a 4G handset or dongle from Reliance Jio if they are providing 4G for Rs 150 or higher? We already get 3G from Aircel, Relaince and BSNL for much lower rate.

  • Tharun George December 14, 2013 10:29 am, 10:29 AM

    I still believe Reliance can provide cheaper tariff. As per economic times, the infrastructure sharing deal reduces initial capital significantly which in turns becomes cheaper tariff.

    I don’t think any operator will offer Rs 10 for 1GB. Reliance will price it at Rs 50 for 1GB. But they will have big packs like Rs 200 for 10GB. I also expect some true unlimited packs priced below Rs 500 for 5Mbps or higher.

    Most developed countries broadband plans are unlimited without FUP. But in India they are FUP with snail speed.
    What Mukesh Ambani is going to offer is not cheaper plans. Like foreign countries we will get true unlimited high speed plans for affordable price.

    • Viranch December 14, 2013 11:48 am, 11:48 AM

      @Tharun george
      The deal only turns out to be a cheaper one in the case of jio’s deal with rcom where it has paid rcom approx 12k crore for their towers for 15 years and 1.2k crore for their ofc network.But i dont think the deal would be cheap with bharti infratel and indus because if they provide discounts to jio they would have to do so for every tenant.They now also have to depend upon their rivals now for their growth.The only thing which would help them provide low tarrif is the SUC of 1% but lately trai has been strongly recommending the implementation of uniform SUC and the telecom comission has also not dicarded their proposal but asked them to consult with finance ministry first and if the uniform suc comes into act within a few years reliance jio is in deep trouble

      • Tharun George December 14, 2013 1:20 pm, 1:20 PM

        It is still possible to become cheaper. Just look at regional cable service broadband providers. They give much cheaper broadband even after getting bandwidth from Relaince and TATA.

        • Viranch December 14, 2013 4:12 pm, 4:12 PM

          @tharun george
          “even after getting bandwidth from reliance and tata”.I already mentioned in my previous comment that jio’s deal with rcom is a cheap one and even local ISP’s only share bandwidth from reliance and tata and not bharti since both reliance and tata are stuggling and debt laden operators and any kind of money thrown at them is like a lifeline to them.The local ISPs only have to pay for bandwidth but over here Reliance Jio has to pay for bandwidth as well as towers as well as roaming arrangements and a host of services they plan to share with to rcom,bharti and indus and bharti and indus are no way gonna charge them less.

    • R!TTER December 14, 2013 12:19 pm, 12:19 PM

      I doubt we’ll see true unlimited (no FUP) data plans in India, since the general public will latch onto it (like a leach) & that’ll really strain the operators’ network infrastructure to the hilt, that too in non peak hours !

      One other thing you have to remember is that the Ambani brothers are birds of the same feather & so I very much doubt that Mukesh Ambani will oblige the Indian public with his cheap freebies. You have to remember that the so called telecom revolution he brought in 2003 was actually an illegal operation, as he provided full mobility under the guise of WLL & I remember this distinctly as I took a connection back then with RIM since the perks were too hard to ignore, that was forged to get a foothold in the market & then the govt (un)willingly had to amend the rules to make the said connections legitimate i.e. they added 930 extension at the beginning to given them full mobility nationwide !

      • Sunil December 16, 2013 10:57 pm, 10:57 PM

        You are right and if the FUP is finished then for sure the whole lines will be clogged as people in India are to hungry for download of every thing where as in EU or US or OZ i have never seen people downloading so much . Rest what you said is also true as all just want to mint the money but not to looks for customers complaints . So sad .


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