Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Reliance Jio Joined COAI for Cracking Indus deal?

In between Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries had inked another tower sharing deal with world's largest tower company - Indus Towers, which is a joint initiative between Bharti Airtel's tower arm Bharti Infratel, Vodafone India and Idea Cellular's parent company Aditya Birla Group.

This is the first time Jio collaborates with Aditya Birla Group's telecom firm by any means. Earlier Jio made two deals with Bharti Airtel for sharing each other's infrastructure and using to access bandwidth
over Airtel's international i2i submarine cable network. Jio partnered Vodafone Group along with several multinational telecom firms to create Bay of Bengal cable network. Interestingly deal with Indus made recently while Jio chose other players including Reliance Communications, Viom, ATC, Tower Vision, GTL, Videocon Telecom one by one for a long time.

Details of Reliance Jio's Infra deals as of now:

Time Frame With Details
September 2014 Indus Towers 119,490 towers
September 2014 GTL Infra 27,800 towers
July 2014 Videocon Telecom 500 towers
June 2014 Ascend Telecom 4,500 towers
May 2014 Tower Vision 8,400 towers
April 2014 American Tower Corporation
(ATC) India
11,000 towers
April 2014 Reliance Communications Nation-wide intra city OFC network
More than 500,000 fiber pair kilometers
March 2014 Viom Networks 42,000 towers
March 2014 Bharti Infratel 36,000 towers
December 2013 Bharti Airtel Sharing of infra including optic fibre network – inter and intra city, submarine cable networks, towers and internet broadband services and other such opportunities identified in the future.
June 2013 Reliance Communications 45,000 towers
April 2013 Telekom Malaysia Berhad ™ (Malaysia), Vodafone Group (UK), Omantel (Oman), Etisalat (UAE) and Dialog Axiata (Sri Lanka) Bay of Bengal Gateway submarine cable system connecting Malaysia (through Penang) and Singapore to the Middle East (Oman and United Arab Emirates) with connections reaching out to India (Mumbai and Chennai) and Sri Lanka.
April 2013 Bharti Airtel To utilize Bharti’s India-to-Singapore i2i submarine cable system for international bandwidth.
April 2013 Reliance Communications inter-city optic fiber network in the country

With the plan for massive roll out of LTE/4G across India over 2.3 & 1.8 GHz band Reliance Jio requires huge number of towers to deploy base stations. Indus with its widest footprint in 15 telecom circles with 113,490 towers can be Jio's first choice but it came last.

Was A-Vo-Id group was not agreeing to allow Jio to utilize their towers(=Indus)? It may be. However joining COAI, the umbrella over GSM players Jio did actually a good job.

On COAI, the greenfield operator got a platform where two of other 4G players are existing i.e. Airtel & Aircel. The state of mobile broadband in the country is still not so good, 3G is yet to get the required popularity. On 4G/LTE the job is tougher as ecosystem is still evolving and Indian customers are not ready to pay high tariff for 4G data. Out of 900 million mobile users only 150 millions are active internet users. Here low price makes the wow factor. And for that all operators should work together upto a certain level so that mobile internet becomes a reality to majority of Indians. 
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