RCom hit with charge for early tower exits - Mobile World Live

RCom hit with charge for early tower exits

15 APR 2019

A tribunal instructed Reliance Communications (RCom) to pay Bharti Infratel INR392 million ($5.7 million) for pulling out of infrastructure sharing agreements with the tower company, The Economic Times (ET) reported.

The decision by arbitrators adds to the mounting financial problems of the troubled operator, which all but exited the Indian mobile market in 2017.

It signed ten year deals to use 504 of Bharti Infratel’s towers across India in 2010 and 2015, the newspaper said.

RCom told the tribunal it did not voluntarily exit the sites, but was forced to due to “unforeseen circumstances that made it impossible for it to continue”, ET wrote.

The operator had a net debt of INR465 billion at end-March and still faces the possibility of insolvency proceedings as it is involved in a number of legal battles with creditors.

Last month RCom settled a long-standing row with Ericsson, paying INR4.6 billion owed to the Swedish vendor relating to service charges.

RCom reached a deal to sell off the majority of its mobile assets to Reliance Jio in 2017, but the sale was never finalised.

Market leader Vodafone Idea also faces possible charges for reducing the number of tenancies per site after its merger. Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, the largest tower companies in India, in January claimed the operator owes them a total of INR45 billion.

Indus Towers is a joint venture between Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea’s two major shareholders.

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Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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