Mobile tower

The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has approved a spectrum sharing deal between Reliance Jio (Jio) and Anil Ambani owned Reliance Communications (RCOM) to share their 800MHz spectrum band across 9 Circles, RCOM  said in a BSE filing. The deal is applicable across RCOM’s 7 Circles and Reliance Jio’s 2 Circles.

MediaNama has written to Reliance Jio for a statement, we will update the story as soon as we get a reply from Jio’s end

In January, both companies entered into a strategic partnership to share spectrum to provide LTE services across 9 circles. At that time, RCOM and Jio said that they also intend to enter into a mutual Intra Circle Roaming (“ICR”) arrangement.

The arrangements were also subjected to liberalization of RCOM spectrum in the 800 MHz band for which it has reportedly paid Rs 5383.84 crore as a liberalization fee to the telecom department under the same band in 16 circles in January. RCOM was initially looking to liberalize its 800Mhz band in 20 circles.

Liberalization of spectrum: This month, the Union Cabinet cleared liberalization of spectrum at rates that were previously suggested by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). The announcement came in favor RCOM; it then had to reportedly pay Rs 1,300 crore for liberalizing 800Mhz band in the remaining 4 circles.

It is also worthy to note that RCOM acquired 800/850 Mhz spectrum from its merger deal with Sistema owned MTS in November 2015; last month, Shareholders of Sistema  approved the merger of the company with RCOM)in a meeting convened by the Rajasthan High Court.

Reliance Jio launch: After launching its 4G services for employees only on the 27th of December, Reliance Jio said that it would be launching its 4G offerings commercially starting March 2016, but as of now there are no official confirmations regarding the date. Overall, Jio currently claims to have given out 70,000 4G mobile connections to its employees for testing ahead of the commercial launch.

Jio and BSNL roaming deal: Last month, Jio signed an Intra-Circle Roaming (ICR) deal with the Government-owned telco body BSNL, According to an ET report, the ICR deal will be applicable across 22 circles; BSNL will be charging 25 paise per minute for voice roaming, 25 paise per megabyte for data and 5 paise per SMS under the ICR deal.

RCOM and Aircel merger talks: In March, RCOM, which had earlier entered into a non-binding but exclusive discussion with Aircel to merge its wireless business with the latter, extended the exclusivity period by 60 days until May 22, 2016. The talks however, excludes RCOM’s towers and optical fibre network infrastructure for which the company is going ahead with the asset sale as announced on December 4.

Image credit: Flickr user hopeless128 under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0