Reliance Communications (RCom) is set to bolster its partnership with Reliance Jio Infocomm, as it bids to launch 4G services in India by the end of the year.
RCom and Jio, owned respectively by brothers Anil and Mukesh Ambani, became the first operators in India to take advantage of a change in regulation to allow spectrum sharing, after announcing plans to share 800MHz in 10 service areas in August.
Regulators have since approved regulation to allow operators to also trade spectrum, with Anil Ambani today confirming the companies will enter into a “strategic partnership” to allow trading and sharing of airwaves in the 800MHz-850MHz band, aiding its 4G offering.
Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting, Anil Ambani reportedly termed the pact as a “virtual consolidation”, and said talks are at an advanced stage.
The pact will also include an arrangement between the two companies allowing for customers to roam on each other’s networks.
This will mean RCom customers have access to Jio’s 4G networks “on an asset light and minimum capital expenditure” basis, while Jio can fall back on 2G and 3G infrastructure provided by RCom.
New entrant Jio is set to fuel competition in India after announcing plans to introduce 4G across the country in December.
Vodafone India is also expected to launch the service in the same timeframe, with market leader Bharti Airtel already leading the way after launching earlier this year.