Department of Telecom has approved the spectrum sharing deal between Ambani brothers-led telecom firms, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and Reliance Communications.
“We wish to inform that Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has taken on record 800Mhz Spectrum Sharing in 7 circles of the company and 2 circles of Reliance Telecom Limited (RTL), wholly-owned subsidiary with RJIL on 21st April 2016,” Reliance Communications said in a regulatory filing.
This approval covers major mobile services market in the country – Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh East, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and North East.
The spectrum sharing deal will allow Anil Ambani-led RCom and Mukesh Ambani’s RJio to offer 4G services on 10 MHz block in 800Mhz band, which is considered as the most efficient frequency available for high-speed mobile services.
From ITU standards, a 10 Mhz block can provide up to 80 mbps speeds and with 800 Mhz spectrum advantage this can deliver internet faster than many wire-line broadband and wi-fi services at a much lower cost.
RCom has plans to start 4G services from May 4.
The approval paves the way for similar arrangements in the remaining 13 circles as well, where Reliance Jio will be acquiring spectrum from RCom through spectrum trading.
The DoT in February had approved sharing of active infrastructure like antenna used for transmitting mobile signals in February.
RCom will trade CDMA grade spectrum in 800MHz band in nine service areas where Jio doesn’t have radiowaves. In 17 circles the two companies have signed spectrum sharing agreement.
RCom paid Rs 5,383.84 crore to liberalise its spectrum in 16 circles including Delhi, Mumbai, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, UP East and West, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata and Bihar.
A liberalised spectrum allows telecom operators to use any technology to deliver mobile services like 3G and 4G. Besides, they will be able to introduce new technologies and share and trade it with other operators for its efficient use.
The Cabinet had earlier cleared liberalisation of spectrum — allocated without auction to telecom companies — at Trai recommended prices with the balance being collected after deriving market rate through bidding.
The decision will enable RCom further liberalise spectrum in four telecom circles, where auction determined price is not available for Rs 1,300 crore. These circles are Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.