Reliance Jio Ascend Telecom

A new month and a new tower sharing agreement from Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJIL), the data services venture of Reliance Industries. This time with New Silk Route-backed Ascend Telecom Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd.

As per the agreement, Reliance Jio will be using Ascend Telecom’s telecom tower infrastructure comprising of 4,500 towers across the country to launch its 4G services.

This is Reliance Jio’s seventh tower infrastructure sharing partnership in the country after signing similar deals with Tower Vision India last month, ATC India in April this year, Viom Networks and Bharti Infratel in March this year, Reliance Communications (RCOM) in June 2013 and its competitor Bharti Airtel in December 2013. Through these tie-ups, the company has access to around 194,500 towers across the country.

Last month, Reliance Jio Managing Director Sanjay Mashruwala had mentioned that they will be offering 4G services through a combination of towers they are renting from these partners and those that they are constructing on their own. It apparently plans to construct around 25,000-30,000 towers on its own.

Reliance Jio – Infotel Telecom merger: Reliance Jio Infocomm has also apparently informed the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) that it plans to merge its wholly-owned subsidiary Infotel Telecom with itself, reports The Economic Times. It said this merger will allow the company to offer national and international long distance services under a single licence.

Reliance Industries currently owns 98.9% stake in Infotel Telecom which currently has licenses to offer national long distance and international long distance services. For the financial year ended March 31, 2014 (FY14), Infotel Telecom posted total revenue of Rs 0.11 crore and a profit of Rs 0.01 crore.

A PTI report also suggests that RJIL has approached DoT to setup an international Internet services gateway in Mumbai and Chennai, which is apparently required to connect to overseas networks. Note that RIL had joined a consortium to set up a submarine cable system via the Bay of Bengal in April last year.

Last week, Reliance Industries had acquired Network18 and had received board approval to invest up to Rs 4,000 crore for the acquisition and make open offers post the acquisition. Read a detailed timeline on how Reliance Industries acquired Network18 here.