Anil Ambani today announced in the Annual general meeting of Reliance communications that his company is in advanced talks with elder brother’s Reliance Jio for spectrum trading and sharing agreement across India. This will be a strategic partnership which will benefit both operators such that Rcom subscribers can use Jio’s 4G network while Jio’s subscribers can fall back on Rcom’s 3G and 2G network for voice services. Currently, RJio has a pact with RCom to share its intra-city fibre-optic and telecom towers across the country. A deal to share RCom’s spectrum will help Mukesh Ambani’s RJio expand the reach of its fourth generation (4G) telecom service, which is likely to be launched by December.
RJio currently possesses 2300MHz band 40 spectrum in all 22 circles but the 2,300 MHz frequency band has not seen many international 4G launches using the so-called long-term evolution (LTE) technology standard. This is mainly because the higher the frequency, the lower the signal strength, although it offers higher data delivery speed.
Jio also possesses 1800MHz band 3 spectrum in 18 circles and the lower frequency 850MHz band 5 spectrum in 10 circles. The low frequency bands will help Jio plug the coverage holes in its network. Rcom on the other hand possesses 5MHz or more of 850MHz spectrum in all 22 circles, but most of it is administratively allocated and Rcom will have to pay the government the current market price on pro rata basis for the remaining license period to liberalise it, which is a prerequisite for spectrum trading and sharing with Jio.
I believe this will be a true gamechanger for the sector and we will see benefits in coming years,” said Anil Ambani, adding that they will be able to jointly offer “gold standard” services. This strategic cooperation and partnership between RJIO and RCom is a virtual consolidation in the telecom sector and I’m grateful to my elder brother Mukesh bhai for unstinted support and guidance,” he added reports Deccan Herald.
Ambani further said that RCom expects to sign a deal to sell its stake in its tower unit, Reliance Infratel, in the next one or two months which will help the telco to substantially reduce its overall debt which stands at over Rs38,000 crore as at June end. He added RCom’s discussions with Sistema Shyam Teleservices for a merger of their Indian operations into RCOM through a stock swap at an advanced stage and will help Rcom increase its 850 MHz holding in 8 circles.
Esmail is our very own in-house spectrum specialist. He is passionate about Telecom, DTH and OTT video streaming apps. When not writing an article, you can find him binge watching shows on Netflix while sipping on a cup of coffee.