Reliance Jio May Buy RCom’s Spectrum in Seven Key Markets to Bolster 850MHz Holdings: Report

Reliance Jio, the Mukesh Ambani-led 4G entrant, would look at buying RCom’s 4G spectrum in the 850 MHz band in seven key markets, which the latter has recently received after the successful merger with Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL). However, Jio could only buy these airwaves if the Indian government gives approval to the Trai’s recent recommendation for easing spectrum caps.


RCom and Jio had earlier signed spectrum trading and sharing pacts in early 2016 to leverage each other’s 850 MHz airwaves to launch 4G services across India.

An ET report, citing various analysts, said that Jio would aggressively target Sistema Shyam’s 4G spectrum in the 850 MHz band in Delhi, Kolkata, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, UP-West and West Bengal that is valid till FY2033. The report added that such a move would be to mitigate business risks since a bulk of RCom’s own spectrum in these circles expires in four years (July 2021).

Besides SSTL’s spectrum, Jio would also be targeting RCom’s 4G spectrum in the 850MHz band in Maharashtra, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh. The new 4G entrant would look to bolster its presence in the premium 850 MHz band, which is considered among the best for 4G services.

Notably, Bharti Airtel, India’s top telecom service provider by subscribers, has already confirmed its intention to but RCom’s select spectrum and some equipment. Airtel, if succeeds, would be able to bolster its spectrum holdings in the country.

In a bid to encourage mergers and acquisitions as well as spectrum trading in India’s telecom market, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has suggested removing caps on spectrum holding in the individual band. In its response to the report on ‘Issues Relating to Spectrum Cap’, the regulator has recommended the existing limit to hold up to 50% by an operator of the total spectrum available within a band in a zone should be removed.

The regulator has also suggested that the combined spectrum holding limit be set at 50% for sub-1 GHz bands that are 700 Mhz, 800 Mhz, 900 MHz bands. These bands are known for their optimal coverage. It argued that imposing a cap on the sub-1GHz band was important as these are most optimal bands. “Therefore, spectrum in sub-1GHz range viz 700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz should be treated separately, and special provisions have to be made to safeguard against the creation of a monopoly,” Trai said.

The telecom department will take a final call on these recommendations.

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78 Comments on "Reliance Jio May Buy RCom’s Spectrum in Seven Key Markets to Bolster 850MHz Holdings: Report"


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Aakash Hinduja
December 9, 2017 2:22 pm 2:22 PM

Reliance RCom 2G had shutdown pan india on 1st december 2017. Rcom 3G and 4G will continue. I have recharged with Rcom 3G Rs 89 pack which gives 28GB at 3G speed for 28 days, i.e 1GB per day at 3G speed at 6 to 8mbps in Rcom Mumbai 3G GSM.

November 29, 2017 5:48 am 5:48 AM

Waiting for jio to increase the coverage in 850 MHz band and airtel to launch 4G at 900 MHz in Tamilnadu. Esmail (only), your opinion?.

November 29, 2017 5:38 am 5:38 AM

Esmail :

Just imagination (if liberalized) : Does BSNL have enough spectrum in the present 2G @ 900 MHz to start 3G and does it have enough spectrum in the present 3G @ 2100 MHz to start 4G across all its operating states?.

November 30, 2017 9:23 am 9:23 AM

Actually what Siddu said covers most of it. Bsnl has a major chunk of 2G only users and if they were to liberalise 900 MHz and use it for 4G, they would have to buy enough 1800 MHz spectrum to migrate the 2G subscribers and set up double the number of BTS to match the previous coverage. All this would take a toll on the financials and BSNL doesn’t have the free cash to do that right now.

November 29, 2017 2:43 pm 2:43 PM

*Bsnl has 6.2 MHz in band 8 (900 MHz) in TN & CHN which is going to expire on 2020, just for 2 years bsnl will not liberalize it..!!

*Bsnl has 5 MHz in band 1 (2100 MHz) in TN which is Liberalised and bsnl won’t launch 4G using it…!!

*70 % bsnl users are using it in feature phones and secondary sims and still your dreaming bsnl would close their 2g operations…!!

Your imagination’s are beyond the reality..!!

Please send these imaginations to @cmdbsnl they would be grateful to see such an innovative ideas…!!

November 29, 2017 4:53 pm 4:53 PM

I never asked your nonsense. Does expiry of the licence mean shutdown?. Prove it. I have asked only Esmail to reply. Open your eyes wide.

November 29, 2017 8:58 pm 8:58 PM

@Sudhakar if bsnl is so ready to renew the spectrum in 2020, then what was the reason for bsnl to ask for 2 years extension till 2022..?? use your own sense before you post something on spectrum and liberalization…!!

November 29, 2017 8:49 pm 8:49 PM

@Sudhakar I know you have ton’s of common sense stored in you, before posting a illogical comment why don’t you use it….!!

Kirti Delhi
November 29, 2017 2:20 pm 2:20 PM

you’re legend !