Reliance Communications pays Rs.5,384 crore for spectrum plan

Mumbai, Jan 20 (IANS) Reliance Communications on Wednesday said it has paid Rs.5,383.84 crore to the government as fee toward spectrum sharing and trading in 16 circles for the 800-850 MHz band, two days after it announced a pact on this with Jio for nine service areas.

This also follows a statement by the company a week ago that while it heard from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) regarding its plans for sharing and trading in scarce airwaves in the 800-850 MHz space, it was awaiting the response in four other circles.

The company statement said it has already been granted a stay by the Kolkata High Court not to furnish any bank guarantee towards one-time spectrum charge, as had been demanded earlier by the government.

Sources said Reliance Communications wanted to pursue spectrum trading in nine circles with Jio and sharing it with Jio in 17 circles.

“Sharing will eventually cover all 22 circles in the 800 MHz band. But we want some clarity in Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir,” a source said.

Reliance Communications has a presence in all the 22 circles in the 800 MHz space, with a total of 113.75 MHz, out of which 33.75 MHz has been earmarked for Jio. This will leave the company with 80 MHz, with an option to share the same under various agreements.

Reliance Communications had announced on Monday that it has signed an agreement for trading and sharing of scarce airwaves, or radio frequency spectrum, with Jio in the 800 MHz band, covering virtually the entire country. A roaming agreement, it had added, was also on cards.

Two other developments will have a bearing on the spectrum plans of Reliance Communications — to buy rival Aircel from Malaysia’s Maxis Communications and Sindya Securities, and another to merge with itself Russia’s Indian telecom arm Sistema that operates under the “MTS” brand.

Sources said if these two deals happen, RCom-Aircel-MTS wireless combine will have over 150 million customers in India and hold close to 20 percent of the total spectrum — highest in country — in virtually every band currently available to private players and every circle.

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