The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 18 , 2014
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Reliance in tower pact with Viom

Mumbai, March 17: Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd has joined hands with Viom Networks to use its telecom tower infrastructure.

Reliance Jio had earlier entered into similar agreements with Bharti Infratel and Reliance Infratel.

The telecom arm of Reliance Industries Ltd today said it would use the telecom towers of Viom Networks to launch services across the country.

Under a master services agreement, Reliance Jio will use Viom Networks’ pan-India passive telecom infrastructure comprising over 42,000 towers.

Viom Networks is a joint venture between Tata Teleservices and Quippo — a Srei Group Enterprise

“This agreement is in line with our mission of a pan-India launch spanning next-generation voice and data services and leveraging existing telecom infrastructure,” Sanjay Mashruwala, managing director of Reliance Jio, said.

Reliance Jio holds a pan-India unified licence and is building a network to offer high-speed data services. Sources said the latest tie-up was part of the company’s efforts to boost its infrastructure base to offer a seamless service.

“From a conventional tower company, we are transforming ourselves into an innovation-driven, data-centric infra solutions provider,” Syed Safawi, chief executive officer of Viom Networks, said.

In March, the Mukesh D. Ambani group company had signed an agreement with Bharti Infratel to utilise its towers. In December 2013, the duo had entered into a comprehensive agreement that included the sharing of optic fibre network, submarine cable networks, telecom towers and Internet broadband services.

Under the terms of the arrangement, Reliance Jio will be entitled to use Bharti Infratel’s 35,000 towers to launch its services. It is also likely to have access to the 47,000-strong network of Indus Towers in which Bharti Infratel has an equity interest of 42 per cent. Reliance Jio had said the pricing would be at arm’s length, based on prevailing market rates.

In the spectrum auction in February, Reliance Jio had opted for the 1800MHz band rather than the 900MHz band. It won 394 blocks of 200KHz each in the 1800MHz band in 14 of the country’s 22 circles for a total amount of Rs 11,054.41 crore.