Brothers Ambani to connect companies in data, telecom platforms

Mumbai, Sep 30 (IANS) Reliance Communications chairman Anil Ambani on Wednesday said his company will partner with elder brother, Mukesh-controlled Reliance Jio to offer each other’s subscribers seamless reciprocal access to three generations of data and voice telephony in the country.

Addressing the company’s shareholders here, Anil Ambani also said talks were at advanced stages for acquiring the India operations of Sistema Shyam TeleServices, besides hiving off the passive infrastructure of telecom towers into a separate company.

Welcoming the recent decisions on spectrum sharing and trading, Ambani said it will prove a major enabler in improving telecom coverage, the quality of service and monetisation of investments that have already been made in acquiring this scarce but expensive resource.

He said the strategic partnership between his telecom arm and Reliance Jio will be a “game-changer” and extend to the “next level” of co-operation, as talks were in advanced stages for finalising a nationwide trading and sharing arrangements in the 800MHz-850 MHz band.

Reciprocal pacts will be reached on roaming, he said, adding: “This strategic cooperation and partnership between R-JIO and RCom is a virtual consolidation in the telecom sector. I’m grateful to my elder brother Mukesh bhai for his unstinted support and guidance.”

Reliance Communications, as per a recent Citi Research report, has 9 percent of the cumulative spectrum allotted till date and will create space for Reliance Jio in the 800 MHz band in all major circles and cities.

Earlier, in 2013, Reliance Jio had entered into an agreement with RCOM for sharing its extensive inter-city and intra-city infrastructure of nearly 520,000 km of optic fiber pairs, besides 45,000 towers. The aggregate value of the deal was pegged at Rs.12,000 crore (nearly $6 billion).

Anil Ambani was also gung ho on the towers business.

“There is excellent progress on the strategic process for the creation of India’s first truly independent tower company through stake sale in RCOM’s (Reliance Communication’s) tower business. We expect to sign and announce the transaction within the next month or two,” he said.

As regards Sistema, he said, the deal is proposed through a stock-swap will prove a high value deal for RCOM, as it will, in extend the validity of spectrum in the 850 MHz band in eight key circles by a “significantly long period of 12 years” — all the way up to 2033.

“RCOM will play a frontier role in realising the Digital India vision of Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) with capabilities of high-speed broadband on the back of its nationwide fiber network, high quality spectrum assets, and data centre facilities providing unlimited cloud computing power.”

He said the prospects for the company were bright on account of world class telecom assets and will translate into a strengthened balance sheet, fast growth with minimal capital expenditure, and help customers leapfrog into the digital era.

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