The telecom industry in India is moving ahead at a fast pace indeed. With 3G present in almost all corners of the country, the next big hurdle was 4G. This too looks set to hit Indian shores before the close of 2014. And it’s not a foreign corporation that’s bringing the fourth generation mobile technology – its India’s very own Reliance Industries Limited’s (RIL) Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL).
The Mukesh Ambani-owned company has expanded rapidly and analysts expect RJIL to start off with a bang when it starts offering its services in the Indian market. To enable the fast rollout of these services and to ensure that the offering from the company doesn’t meet with problems, one of the first things to be tacked was the issue of network availability. To tackle this, RJIL signed agreements and deals with many mobile tower and infrastructure companies that would enable the Ambani-owned enterprise to reap benefits of having numerous towers across India. The latest deal was signed with Tower Vision. In a joint statement issued by RJIL and Tower Vision, the companies said that the deal is for sharing 8,400 towers of Tower Vision. It is the fifth tower-sharing agreement by Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Jio. Earlier, the company had tied up with Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Viom Towers and ATC India.
“We are continuing to build wide coverage of high speed 4G networks through a combination of towers that we are constructing on our own and those that we are renting from quality tower infrastructure partners,” said Sanjay Mashruwala, managing director at Reliance Jio.
The overall target for RJIL is to use around 1,00,000 towers as it targets to launch fourth-generation voice and data services in the October-December quarter. Of these, around 70,000 are to be leased or shared with other companies and 30,000 will be constructed for the sole purpose of proving 4G network.
The company owns all-India airwaves in the 2,300 MHz band since May 2010, but it has not rolled out the service yet. But it needs to do so by May 2015, as per the license obligation. Reliance Jio also bought airwaves in the 1,800 MHz band in an auction held in February 2014.
Reliance Jio’s eagerly anticipated data services are likely to bring down data prices. This, in turn, may lead to another tariff war among various service providers.