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Telecom operators Reliance Communications (RCOM) and Reliance Jio have entered into a strategic partnership to share spectrum to provide LTE services, the Anil Ambani-led comapny said in a notification on the BSE.  RCOM and Jio have signed agreements in spectrum allotment in 800 MHz band across 9 Circles from RCOM to Reliance Jio. The companies also agreed to share spectrum in 800 MHz band across 17 Circles.

The companies also intend to enter into reciprocal Intra Circle Roaming (“ICR”) arrangements. “RCOM’s customers will benefit from access to Reliance Jio’s world class nationwide 4G LTE network under the reciprocal sharing and ICR agreements,” RCOM added in the release.

The arrangements are subject to liberalisation of RCOM spectrum in the 800 MHz band and obtaining requisite approvals.

Readers will also note that RCOM acquired 800/850 Mhz spectrum from its merger with MTS in November 2015.

Reliance Jio launch: After launching its 4G services for employees only on the 27th of December, Reliance Jio  said it will be launching its 4G offerings commercially starting March 2016. Overall, RJIL currently claims to have given out 70,000 4G mobile connections to its employees for testing ahead of the commercial launch.

MediaNama had reported in October that Jio’s commercial 4G launch was likely to happen by March 2016, contrary to the company’s previous statement that it would launch by the end of 2015.

Presence in 18,000 cities:  In July, Reliance Jio claimed that it was present in all 29 states in India and had a direct physical presence in nearly 18,000 cities and towns. It also claimed to have built an optical fibre network consisting nearly 250,000 route kilometres.

Credit Suisse’s Research & Analytics report: Last month, Credit Suisse’s Research and Analytics released its assessment of Reliance Jio’s 4G field trials and said the network speeds averaged at around 15-30 Mbps download speeds. The firm also said that calls over Jio connections work as well as regular phone calls.

RCOM and Aircel merger talks: Last month, RCOM entered into a non-binding but exclusive discussions with Aircel to merge their wireless business operations. The telecom operator said that is is in talks with Malaysia’s Maxis Communications Berhad and Sindya Securities and Investments Private Limited, the shareholders of Aircel Limited. The talks however, excludes Reliance Communications towers and optical fibre network infrastructure for which the company is going ahead with the asset sale as announced on December 4.