‘Jio Must Integrate RCom Waves for Quality Network’
Airwaves integration exercise leading to a commercial launch may take six months
Kolkata: Reliance Jio Infocomm can commercially launch fast mobile broadband services only after it has integrated Reliance Communications’ 850 Mhz airwaves with its own 4G frequencies in the 2300 Mhz and 1800 Mhz bands to “ensure a better quality 4G network,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch has said. The airwaves integration exercise leading to a commercial launch, it said, could take nearly six months to conclude. Reliance Jio and RCom have inked multi-circle airwaves sharing and trading pacts in the 850 Mhz band to jointly offer 4G services across India.
The proposed spectrum integration can happen only after “RCom has switched off its CDMA network and migrated such customers to different (4G) bands,” said the United States brokerage. This entire exercise, it said, will take up five to six months as “RCom would require up to three months to vacate its CDMA subscribers,” following which Jio would take another 8 to 10 weeks to integrate the 850 Mhz band with its 4G airwaves in the 1800/2300 Mhz bands, and then conduct tests for another month before a commercial launch”.
“Parent, Reliance Industries does not want to take any chances with Jio’s customer experience upon launch, and is willing to take time in order to get it right at the start,” analysts at BankAm Merrill Lynch added in their note seen by ET.
A top executive aware of the RCom and Jio’s airwave sharing/trading plans, ho- wever, expects integration to happen much faster.
Spectrum integration, he said, would be concluded rapidly in under a month. “Upgradation of RCom’s CDMA customers to 4G bands will happen simultaneously with the integration with Jio’s spectrum,” said this executive, who did not wish to be named.
Indications are that the first wave of spectrum integration between the RCom and Jio networks will happen in the nine markets where the Narendra Modiled government recently allowed the two companies to share airwaves in the 850 Mhz band. RCom and Jio did not reply to ET’s queries until press time.
RCom recently said it would start upgrading its roughly 5 million CDMA customers to a 4G network in phases, starting May 4, by leveraging its spectrum sharing pact with Jio and also use the latter’s network infrastructure for launching 4G services.