Archive for May, 2014

Reliance Jio pens deal with DragonWave for Microwave Radio Systems

May 30, 2014

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) has signed a deal with Canada-based DragonWave Inc., – a leading global supplier of microwave radio systems for mobile and access networks. Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited is a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India’s largest private Sector Enterprise. The agreement for first purchase orders totaling 5,000 links has already been signed. DragonWave will provide 5,000 turnkey Horizon Compact+ links in support of the Indian operator’s plan to roll out extensive, nationwide 4G/LTE networks. The deployment will also include services to be delivered by DragonWave’s Indian joint venture, DragonWave HFCL.

DragonWave’s Horizon Compact+ was tested extensively by RJIL and after many rounds of testing with some in real-world conditions of India’s harsh interior. The product was found to be of sufficiently high quality for RJIL to use as transport system for high capacity backhaul to support their upcoming 4G network. Horizon Compact+ uniquely offers a combination of 2048 QAM modulation together with the industry’s only bandwidth accelerator bulk compression capability, to deliver unsurpassed spectral efficiency.

DragonWave will start a new India-specific venture called DragonWave HFCL. It’s CEO, R Raghavan on the closing of the deal was quoted as saying, “We are delighted that DragonWave products have been selected by Reliance Jio. This selection demonstrates DragonWave’s product leadership. This is also DragonWave HFCL’s first major services win in India, showing our deployment capabilities have matured.”

The Canada-based company is a leading supplier of high-capacity packer microwave solutions that drive next generation IP networks. Crucially, these also transmit broadband voice, which means they are highly valuable to mobile network providers such as Reliance Jio. Because of the state-of-the-art technology which they come with, they are suited for 4G/LTE networks which align perfectly with Reliance Jio, who intend to launch 4G services in India soon.

Ambitious Plans:

Reliance’s Telecom venture kicked-off not too long ago. Since then, the company has unveiled some very ambitious plans. RJIL is also the first telecom company to hold a pan-India 4G license and has collaborated with many local and international players to ensure a glitch-free launch. Notable among them is the partnership Mukesh Ambani has signed with Bharti Airtel’s Sunil Mittal.

That’s not all; the company has also invested considerable amount of money into a fiber-optic cable network that will span East Asia, the Indian Sub-Continent and the Middle East. This ambitious plan, the first of its kind was born as a result of continuous talks and collaboration between Reliance Jio Infocomm and various entities in the South-East Asian market.

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RIL’s Jio Infocomm to alter Dynamics of Telecom, Education and Entertainment

May 23, 2014

India’s telecommunication landscape has changed considerably over the last few years. New players coupled with faster and efficient services have resulted in the industry growing at a fast pace. Now, the entire market is excited about the launch of fourth generation or 4G services across the country. The company to have received a pan-India license for 4G services is Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL). The Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) owned company has some ambitious plans for its services. As such, being on the cusp of a revolution of sorts in the telecom sector, the dynamics of education, entertainment, financial services and healthcare businesses are sure to be altered in some way at least.

RJIL will launch its services in the coming months. Sources close to the company said that the Mukesh Ambani-owned company is planning a strategy that will leverage the use of advanced technologies to deliver high-speed data, combined with content and applications designed to appeal to individual and corporate customers. The picture is also strongly reminiscent of the so-called triple play (communication, information, entertainment) model Reliance Infocomm touted when it was launched by RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani before it went to his younger brother Anil Ambani under a family settlement and became Reliance Communications.

Expanding Beyond Domain Borders:

After acquiring the necessary spectrum, Reliance Jio planned solutions that would cater not just across the standard pre-existing telecom template in the country, but also across various digital domains of national interest such as education, healthcare, security, financial services, government citizen interfaces and entertainment. A big part of this strategy is television. The company plans to offer its subscribers access to 200 channels of which 160 will be HD. It will automatically store TV shows on these channels for seven days on the cloud, and subscribers can access and watch them—without having to record them.

Video is the next big thing in the Indian market and RJIL placing such a huge emphasis on the same and the entertainment industry as a whole is quite understandable. Data from GroupM, the digital agency part of WPP’s global behemoth suggests that the Indian consumer spent 19 billion minutes viewing videos online in October 2013 alone. As such viewing on mobile phones is also poised to increase exponentially over time. As a result, offering TV services on mobile makes perfect sense.

Healthcare & Education – India’s 21st Century Challenges:

Healthcare in India is a huge topic. Consulting firms, technology conglomerates and FMCG’s are all talking an active interest in what is one of India’s biggest challenges in the 21st Century. In this sector, RJIL is currently experimenting with various forms of telemedicine. This includes keeping a patient’s complete medical history stored in the cloud, accessible anywhere and at any time; providing subscribers with wearable devices that will upload necessary physiological data for viewing by a doctor; and video conferencing between doctors and patients. In education, the same person added, Reliance Jio will leverage its 38.5% stake in digital learning solutions company Extramarks Education, acquired in 2011, to provide textbook and other study material, including videos, for use by students and teachers.

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RELIANCE JIO AND TOWER VISION SIGN TOWER INFRASTRUCTURE SHARING AGREEMENT

May 16, 2014

New Delhi / Mumbai, May 15, 2014: Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (“Reliance Jio”), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and the first telecom operator to hold a Pan-India Unified License, and Tower Vision India, an independent tower company in India, have entered into a MSA (Master Service Agreement) for tower sharing. Under the agreement, Reliance Jio would utilise the telecom tower infrastructure of Tower Vision to launch its services across the country. Tower Vision has a portfolio of 8,400 towers in India.

Sanjay Mashruwala, Managing Director, Reliance Jio said, “We are committed to offer our customers wide coverage of high speed 4G networks. As a consequence, we are continuing to build this through a combination of Towers that we are constructing on our own and those that we are renting from quality tower infrastructure partners. Our partnership with Tower Vision is another step in this direction.”

“We welcome Reliance Jio to our high quality tower infrastructure network. Tower Vision India prides itself on a selective tower portfolio with an unparalleled service level, built to cater for the growing urban and semi-urban voice and data demands. Through partnering with Tower Vision India, Reliance Jio gains access to carefully selected sites, covering strategic locations where data customers today require uninterrupted high speed wireless coverage.” said Tower Vision’s Chairman, Amit Ganani.

About Reliance Jio:

Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India’s largest private sector company, is the first telecom operator to hold pan-India Unified License. This license authorises RJIL to provide all telecommunication services except Global Mobile Personal Communication by Satellite Service. RJIL holds spectrum in 1800 MHz (across 14 circles) and 2300 MHz (across 22 circles) capable of offering fourth-generation (4G) wireless services.

RJIL is setting up a pan-India telecom network to provide to the highly underserviced Indian market, reliable (4th- generation) high speed internet connectivity, rich communication services and various digital services in key domains such as education, healthcare, security, financial services, government citizen interfaces and entertainment.

The company already has:

• An agreement with ATC India for their 11,000 towers across India. (April 2014)

• An agreement with Viom Networks for their 42,000 telecom towers. (March 2014)

• Agreement with Bharti Airtel for a comprehensive telecom infrastructure sharing agreement to share infrastructure created by both parties to avoid duplication of infrastructure wherever possible. (December 2013)

• A key agreement for international data connectivity with Bharti to utilise dedicated fiber pair of Bharti’s i2i submarine cable that connects India and Singapore. (April 2013)

• Agreements with Reliance Communications Limited for sharing of RCOM’s extensive inter- city and intra-city optic fiber infrastructure of nearly 1,20,000 fiber-pair kilometers of optic fiber and 500,000 fiber pair kilometers respectively and 45,000 towers. (April 2013 / August 2013/ April 2014)

About Tower Vision:

Tower Vision India specializes in the provisions of passive infrastructure to the wireless telecommunications industry on a shared, multi-tenancy basis. Tower Vision India combines high expertise in roll-out, operation and maintenance of Telecom infrastructures.

For further information, please contact:

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. Tower Vision India Private Ltd

Atul Dwivedi

+91 8527793366

atul.dwivedi@ril.com

Amit Ganani

+972 544275169

aganani@tower-vision.com

Tushar Pania

+91 9820088536

Tushar.pania@ril.com

Ruth Cohen

+972 543210711

ruthcjbc@gmail.com

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Govt. Defends Allocation of Unified License to Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio

May 9, 2014

The Ministry of Telecom is busy these days. After the spectrum allocation auctions, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) protested voiced their surprise at Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) being allotted a unified license. Further, the allegations claimed that this resulted in an undue gain of Rupees 22,848 crore to RJIL. However, the Ministry of Telecom has come out strongly in criticism of such claims.

The CAG in an audit note has claimed that the government has allowed entities, like the owner of RJIL, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) to basically enhance the offerings of their services that enabled them to provide voice services for a paltry amount. The Telecom Ministry has taken a stern objection to these claims and refuted all the charges levelled by the CAG. The Ministry has explained that the notice inviting applications for 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum before a 2010 auction didn’t restrict BWA winners from providing voice telephony. These winners were allowed to acquire either a unified access service license or an ISP, and if they purchased a unified license, they would become eligible to provide any of the services under the permit, including full mobile voice services. However, to convert this license the holder had to pay a one-time fee of Rupees 1,656 Crores to the government.

It is the telecom ministry’s responsibility to ensure that the appropriate amount is recovered from a company in case of such license conversions and the fact that RIL was able to ‘get away’ with it in the eyes of the CAG is the prime reason for this complaint. Quoting the Honourable Supreme Court’s judgment in 2012 regarding the 122 telecom permits handed out the Telecom Ministry then headed by A. Raja, the CAG said that the Government of India should have charged Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio the differential amount paid by 3G spectrum winners in 2010 plus the net present value of the total amount. This whole issue was came on the back of the judgment that rendered the 122 telecom permits given in 2008 as invalid on account of them being allotted on the basis of 2001 prices instead of 2008 prices.

As a result, the differential amount which the CAG claims should be paid by Reliance Jio to the Ministry of Telecom is Rupees 22,484 crore. However, the Ministry of Telecom claims that nothing wrong has been done and no untowardly favours towards Ambani Seniors Company have been done. As such, the matter should end right here.

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Relief for RIL, New Gas Prices to come into effect from May 12 – Moily

May 5, 2014

The on-going gas prices saga involving Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and the Ministry of Petroleum finally seems to have drawn to a close. After the close of the last electoral voting cycle on May 12th, the Election Commission will lift its model code of conduct clearing the way for gas prices to be allocated as per the Rangarajan Formula. What this means for the oil companies including RIL is that the new pricing (Which incidentally was supposed to be implemented from April 2014) which would work out to around $8/mmBtu against the current $4.2 — would have retrospective validity from April 2014.

Oil Minister and the man at the center of this saga, Mr. VeerappaMoily was quoted as saying, “When the proposal came to me, I rightly ordered that after the model code of conduct is lifted, price may be announced for the July-September quarter, 2014, and also for the April-June quarter, 2014, as per the approved guidelines by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.”

Moily also hit back at CPI (M) leader GurudasDasgupta who had made the controversial statement alleging collusion between the government and RIL over the issue of as prices. Dasgupta said, “Around 65% of the gas is produced by public sector companies and the remaining 35% by private or joint venture companies. RIL’s production constitutes only about 15% of the country’s total gas output. Therefore, the largest beneficiaries of the increased gas price are the public sector companies. As such, allegations that these decisions are intended to favour a particular company, namely RIL, are totally misplaced.”

Defending the oil companies including RIL, Moily said that the old prices $4.2 mmBtu were found to be commercially unviable. Also, there seems to be some sort of confusion about the commerciality of the fields in the KG and Cauvery basins. The bottom line with respect to the Oil & Gas sector is that exploration in naturally risky due to geological and technological challenges and while great returns can be expected, they’re never guaranteed. In spite of all the uncertainties and risks associated, many companies invest huge sums of money. As a result, the government considers itself responsible enough to compensate the aforementioned companies so that they’re perennially encouraged to invest in the Indian market which has vast amounts of untapped resources.

On the political front, Moily wasn’t hesitant to come out all guns blazing. He reiterated that it was during the NDA regime when Mukesh Ambani-led RIL entered into the production sharing contract for the KG D6 block. He also refuted the allegations made by GurudasDasgupta calling them false, baseless and misleading. He further added that there were some making noises against the government in order to derail the growth in the domestic sector. This, alleged Moily was done by parties with vested interests in foreign corporations determined not to see an energy independent India and keep it dependent on foreign oil.

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