Reliance Jio signs $2.1B tower-sharing deal with RCOM to roll out 4G services

Reliance Industries’ (RIL) communication arm Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has signed an agreement with Reliance Communications Ltd (RCOM) for sharing of RCOM’s nationwide telecom towers infrastructure.

The agreement has an aggregate value of over Rs 12,000 crore ($2.1 billion) during the agreement’s lifetime.

As per the pact, Reliance Jio will use up to 45,000 ground- and rooftop-based towers across RCOM’s network for accelerated roll-out of its 4G services.

The agreement provides for joint working arrangements to configure the scope of additional towers to be built at new locations to ensure penetration and seamless delivery of next generation services.

This agreement follows the inter-city optic fibre sharing agreement signed in April 2013 as part of a framework of business co-operation between Reliance Jio and RCOM.

The tie-up between the two firms controlled by Ambani brothers, who separated a few years ago, will help both the firms derive financial benefits. While debt-strapped RCOM will gain from the payments which will flow from Reliance Jio, the latter will be able to quickly roll out its 4G services with a pan-India footprint.

In his AGM speech to shareholders, RIL chief Mukesh Ambani said Reliance Jio has grown from less than 700 professionals—most of them based in the Navi Mumbai campus—a year ago, to a national footprint of over 3,000 professionals. He said the firm would add nearly 7,000 employees in the business this financial year.

Shares of RCOM were quoting at Rs 117.05 per share, down 0.85 per cent on the BSE in a strong Mumbai market in mid-day trades on Friday.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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