RIL’s Infotel Broadband Services calls for bids from telecom operators

Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India’s most valuable company by market capitalization, has invited bids from telecom tower operators willing to lease out around 26,000 towers across India for its subsidiary Infotel Broadband Services Pvt. Ltd. RIL has been testing 4G technology in some areas and in an effort to unroll their 4G broadband services nationwide, it has called for bids in regards to this aspiring Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) venture.
Viom Networks Ltd, India’s largest independent telecom tower company and GTL Infrastructure Ltd are likely put in their bids with this mega-conglomerate in an effort to rope in the power house as their prospective clients.

Infotel Broadband Services won the pan-India spectrum for broadband wireless access (BWA) last year. RIL acquired 95% stake in Infotel, thereby making its re-entry in to the telecom quarter. Infotel was able to acquire air-waves in 22 circles in a government auction, following which, it raised $1 billion through ECBs to refinance loans availed for paying fee for Broadband Wireless Access (BWA).

“Infotel is in the process of finalizing the arrangement with leading global technology players, service providers, infrastructure providers, application developers, device manufacturers and others to leapfrog India to the 4G revolution,” RIL had said in a statement issued on 21 January, while announcing its results for the quarter ended 31 December.

Currently, RIL is finalizing vendors who would supply broadband equipment based on the so- long term evolution (LTE) technology so as to roll out wireless broadband services by the end of 2012.

Last year, India announced a National Broadband Plan with the intention of connecting close to 160 million households as compared to the present estimate of 10.3 million.
This venture will mark RIL’s successful entry into a new found sector with a resolute footing. For long, Reliance Industries has been eyeing to foray into newer avenues and seek better investment opportunities following a remarkable growth in the core industry sector. Through Infotel, Reliance will not fulfill its dreams of embarking in new category but will also be able to generate exceptional brand equity that is a derivative of its name.


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