The two entities have not yet officially commented on the development so far.

Reliance Jio subscribers may be affected if RCom deal on spectrum sharing fails
Atom Telecom Tuesday, December 25, 2018 - 17:15

If you are a Reliance Jio subscriber and live in cities like Delhi, Kolkata or Mumbai, don’t get surprised if you face problems with the signal strength on your phone. The reason is the proposed agreement with the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications for sharing the spectrum space in the 800MHz band.

As you are aware, Reliance Communications or RCom was originally developed by the Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Group, but when the brothers split, RCom went to Anil’s ADAG. But the company was not very successful and ran into huge debts. Anil Ambani is battling for survival with the Rs 46,000 crore debt burden and the new IBC Act, breathing down his neck. If he does not retire at least some part of the debt soon, the company will go into insolvency and assets will be auctioned off to recover the dues and pay off the debtors.

Now, in the middle of this, is the Rs 18,000 crore deal that Anil entered into with his elder brother to use the spectrum and the towers for Reliance Jio. That deal is yet to be cleared by the Department of Telecom (DoT) citing lack of conformity with the rules governing such sale of spectrum.

From the Reliance Jio perspective, this is crucial since the 800MHz band is used by it for the 4G LTE services and Jio customers will see calls dropping as they migrate from tower to tower. In the worst-case scenario, if the deal falls through and RCom turns insolvent, then Reliance Jio has to set up its own towers to fill the gap or wait till the auctions are held and then tie up with the buyer. These alternatives may take time.

The circles that could be affected by this include Mumbai, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Assam and the Northeast. It is reported that without the RCom spectrum support, Reliance Jio’s own backbone infrastructure will be able to support just 50% of the spectrum bandwidth required to provide seamless service to all its customers.

The third option of migrating its services to the 1800MHz band may also not be the solution, since experts feel it will result in the quality of service being lowered all round.

The two entities have not yet officially commented on the development so far.

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.