After the Spectrum Sale, Reliance Jio to head for Swap Deals

After the spectrum sale, the telecom venture of Mukesh Ambani-led, Reliance Industries, Reliance Jio Infocomm is now looking for spectrum swap deals. These deals may help the company to achieve adjacent frequencies with which it will be able to provide efficient 4G (Long Term Evolution) LTE services on its acquired 800 MHz band.

Views of analysts and Reliance Jio Infocomm

Analysts showed concern for Reliance Jio’s present 800 MHz acquisitions. They find it ill-suited for providing 4G LTE services. The spread out of 4G services will depend on the previous government’s approval on trading of spectrum and rules for leasing.

The company however feels that such concerns are incorrect. It said that a Notice Inviting Application (NIA) was given to telecom operators at the auction so that they give the best possible services.

A spokesperson of Reliance Jio informed, “The NIA allows and the DoT encourages operators to swap spectrum. Reliance Jio has in the past entered into swap deals with other operators with DoT’s approval to arrive at the most efficient configuration.”

Senior Principal at Dua Consulting and Former Chairman of VSNL, BK Syngal, feels that Reliance Jio may efficiently make some easy spectrum swaps with other telecom operators. He also said that such swaps will be much cheaper as against trading or any other option.

Analysts are anxious to see how Reliance Jio will use its non-adjacent airwaves in the 800 MHz band to provide their 4G services.

Brokerage IDFC said that if Reliance Jio has chosen 800 MHz band to launch its 4G services, with no continuous spectrum, then it is either hoping to buy more airwaves through spectrum trading or it may make use of technology to join two bands for providing 4G services.

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch is of the view that Reliance Jio will either have to acquire adjacent spectrum through swap deals or will have to liberalize it’s 800 MHz band in selected regions. A top executive of Reliance Jio however disagrees from such suggestions. He said that the spectrum that was sold in the recently ended auction was already liberalized.

Acquired spectrums of Reliance Jio

Reliance Jio bagged 49 units in 10 circles in the spectrum band of 800 MHz. It paid a total amount of Rs. 7,876.42 crores for the same. The company also acquired 5 MHz slots in 9 areas. It has adjacent spectrum in the band in only four regions, namely Madhya Pradesh, North East, Mumbai and Assam.

Reliance Jio had won broadband bandwidth of 2300 MHz in 2010 and is now gearing up to roll out its 4G services. It spent Rs. 13,000 crores for the same, five years ago. After that, Reliance Jio bought airwaves in the 1800 MHz band in February, last year for which it spent Rs. 11,000 crores.

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