‘Jio Must In­te­grate RCom Waves for Qual­ity Net­work’

Air­waves in­te­gra­tion ex­er­cise lead­ing to a com­mer­cial launch may take six months

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Kalyan.Par­bat @times­group.com

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.

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