Jio in talks to lease Infratel towers, RCOM inks tie-up with Aircel

30 Apr 2013

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecoms unit of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), is in talks with infrastructure management firm Bharti Infratel regarding plans to lease the latter’s towers, Reuters reports. Preparing for the upcoming launch of its 4G wireless services, Jio has inked a deal with Reliance Communications (RCOM) to share fibre-optic backbone infrastructure and signed an agreement with Infratel’s parent company Bharti Airtel to lease capacity on its i2i submarine cable network.

In related news, RCOM has launched a new growth initiative whereby the telco will sign bilateral tower sharing agreements with competitors in areas where it has not yet deployed its own network. Kicking off the process, the carrier has signed a deal with rival mobile operator Aircel that will add some 10,000 base stations to its footprint. The initiative is expected to cut RCOM’s CAPEX by around INR12 billion (USD221.55 million), and will help drive growth in the Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh East, Uttar Pradesh West, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan circles, according to the telco’s chief of wireless operations Gurdeep Singh.

Aircel CEO Kaizad Heerjee commented on the deal: ‘The telecom industry is at a stage where players are faced with high operational costs — whether it’s energy, infrastructure, sales or distribution. Given this dynamic nature of the industry, it is inevitable for operators to consider such agreements to offer continued and seamless mobile services to customers.’