Reliance communications the 4th largest operator by subscriber base which is in the process of merging wireless operations with MTS in an all stock deal will start migrating the CDMA subscribers of MTS to its own 4G network.
The upgrade to 4G section on Rcom website has now started displaying the ability to enter an MTS number to register it for upgrade to Rcom 4G. The error message displayed in the screenshot above is elicited when a non Rcom or MTS number is entered in the 4G migration section. This suggests that the merger with MTS is in its final stage and that Rcom will follow the same procedure that it did with its own CDMA subscribers so as to free up the MTS 850 MHz spectrum for its LTE expansion.
Rcom and MTS are set to merge in an all stock deal where MTS will own 10% share in the merged entity without any board representation. The merger had previously received the permission of Rajasthan High court and then Mumbai High court gave it the go ahead and now subsequently the application is awaiting the final nod of DoT. Once all permissions are in place, the merger will go through and the migration of MTS subscribers will begin.
The main reason why Rcom decided to acquire MTS is for its holding of 3.75 MHz liberalised spectrum in the 850 MHz band in 8 circles which have a residual period of 17 years. This would ensure that Rcom hUpad the requisite 4G spectrum in these circles and would not face the challenge of business continuity upon the expiry of its current licenses. Rcom got all its administratively allotted spectrum in 850 MHz band liberalised and traded a portion of it with Mukesh Ambani's Jio and has also subsequently entered into a spectrum sharing deal with the company.
Update: Rcom quickly rectified the wording of the error message after we published this story and the name of MTS has now been removed.
Inputs: Soumya Rajan