The telecommunication industry in India is seeing much collaboration of late. The most recent is the tower sharing agreement signed by Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and BhartiInfratel, India’s leading provider of telecom tower infrastructure. RJIL is the first telecom operator to hold a pan-India 4G license. On 4th March 2014, a Master Services Agreement between the two entities was signed which would enable RJIL to utilize the massive tower infrastructure of BhartiInfratel. RJIL would in turn use this to launch its services across India. As per the agreement, the pricing would be at ‘arm’s length,’ based on prevailing market rates.
The Mukesh Ambani owned company had earlier signed a deal with Sunil Mittal owned Bharti Airtel to avoid duplication of infrastructure. This was done to reduce capital infusion and also contribute to environment preservation. Also, the overall alliance with Bharti Airtel and BhartiInfratel is expected to help RJIL with a faster roll out of services across the country. This sharing of infrastructure is nothing new. In fact, RJIL had entered into an agreement with Anil Ambani owned Reliance Communications for mutual sharing of telecom towers and optical fibre network.
RJIL is setting up a pan India telecom network to provide to the highly underserviced India market, reliable (4th generation) high speed internet connectivity, rich communication services and various digital services on pan India basis in key domains such as education, healthcare, security, financial services, government citizen interfaces and entertainment. RJIL aims to provide anytime, anywhere access to innovative and empowering digital content, applications and services, thereby propelling India into global leadership in digital economy.
Commenting on the agreement with BhartiInfratel, Sanjay Mashruwala, Managing Director, Reliance Jio said, “This agreement is in line with our earlier comprehensive telecom infrastructure sharing arrangement with Bharti Airtel Limited aimed at avoiding duplication of infrastructure, wherever possible, and to preserve capital and the environment. The agreement will help us with the faster roll out of our services across the country.”
RJIL is part of the ‘Bay of Bengal Gateway’ cable system. This is an ambitious cable system that is planned to provide connectivity to South East Asia, South Asia, Europe, Far East Asia and the Middle East. New cable systems are being built through India and the Middle East.
RJIL’s subsidiary has been awarded with a Facility Based Operator License (“FBO License”) in Singapore which will allow it to buy, operate and sell undersea and/or terrestrial fibre connectivity, setup its internet point of presence, offer internet transit and peering services as well as data and voice roaming services in Singapore.
RJIL has finalised key agreements with its technology partners, service providers, infrastructure providers, application partners, device manufacturers and other strategic partners for the project. These strategic partners have committed significant resources, knowhow and global talent to support planning, deployment and testing activities currently underway.