Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited and Bharti Airtel Limited today announced a comprehensive telecom infrastructure sharing arrangement, under which they will share infrastructure created by both parties.
This will include optic fibre network – inter and intra-city, submarine cable networks, towers and internet broadband services and other such opportunities identified in the future, the two said in a joint statement issued today.
Earlier, speaking at the Progresive Punjab Summit, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Ltd, said that his company is open to joining hands with Bharti Airtel for improving the telecom network for 4G services in Punjab. (RIL could join hands with Airtel for 4G in Punjab: Mukesh)
The cooperation is aimed at avoiding duplication of infrastructure, wherever possible, and to preserve capital and the environment. This will also provide redundancy in order to ensure seamless services to customers of the respective parties, the companies stated.
The arrangement could, in future, be extended to Roaming on 2G, 3G and 4G, and any other mutually benefiting areas relating to telecommunication, including but not limited to jointly laying optic fibre or other forms of infrastructure services.
The pricing would be at 'arm's length', based on the prevailing market rates, it added.
As part of the arrangement, Bharti and Reliance Jio have already announced an agreement under which Bharti has provided capacity on its i2i submarine cable to Reliance Jio.
Bharti Airtel subsidiary Bharti Infratel is one of the largest tower infrastructure providers in India with 35,376 towers in 11 telecom circles across India. Bharti Infratel also has 42 per cent equity interest in Indus Towers, which owns 112,144 towers in 15 telecom circles across India.
Bharti's national long distance network provides pan-India reach with 175,705 Rkms of optic fibre. Its global network runs across 225,000 Rkms, covering 50 countries and 5 continents.
This includes ownership of i2i submarine cable system connecting Chennai to Singapore, consortium ownership of SMW4 submarine cable system connecting Chennai and Mumbai to Singapore and Europe, and new cable system investments like Asia America Gateway (AAG), India Middle East & Western Europe (IMEWE), Unity, EIG (Europe India Gateway) and East Africa Submarine System (EASSy). It also has terrestrial express connectivity to neighbouring countries, including Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh and China.
Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), holds universal service licence and is the only pan India operator with broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum across 22 circles capable of offering fourth generation (4G) LTE wireless services.
Reliance Jio is setting up a pan-India telecom infrastructure to provide high speed internet and communication services. This infrastructure will also be an enabler for a portfolio of rich multi-media digital services, including education, health-care, entertainment, payment and cloud services for millions of individuals, homes and businesses across India.
Reliance Jio is part of the `Bay Of Bengal Gateway' cable system, planned to provide connectivity between South East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, and also to Europe, Africa and to the Far East Asia through interconnections with other existing and newly built cable systems landing in India, the Middle East and the Far East Asia.