Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio is likely to expand its 4G network significantly with the installation new cell sites together with players like Bharti Infratel and American Tower Corporation (ATC) ahead of its mega December commercial launch, according to a report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA-ML).
“With a full-scale Jio launch now expected to be around December, 2016, we now see a higher possibility that Jio could start installing new-sites before its launch," it said in its report.
Jio would be requiring around 30,000 new cells sites, out of which 5,000 are likely yo be deployed by Bharti Infratel, the report said. It added that a majority of Jio cell-sites will be rolled out by independent tower companies such as like Bharti Infratel, American Towers and Indus Towers rather than by Jio itself, due to the "time to market" advantage, which is critical for Jio.
With Jio investing more to improve its network quality, it is likely that top three telcos would also to start improving their network quality as they risk losing more market share, BofA-ML added.
Reliance Jio, which earlier inked the spectrum sharing and trading pact with RCom, is expected to rollout commercial fourth-generation or 4G services by December this year.
Jio has so far inked a number of infrastructure sharing pacts with a number of players. It inked a pact with RCom to lease latter's telecom towers across the country for Rs 12,000 crore in June 2013, followed by a deal with Bharti Airtel in December 2015.