Is Reliance Industries aiming for largest ever LTE 4G roll out in the world

The proposed LTE 4G roll out by the Mukesh Ambani
promoted Reliance Industries is set to offer much needed breather for telecom
equipment vendors.

Senior officials with leading telecom equipment vendors
say the deployment of the fourth generation services has the potential to
become the largest ever LTE roll out in the world in terms of scale.

Telecom infrastructure companies such as Ericsson, Nokia
Siemens Networks, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE are eagerly waiting for the
deal. Chip makers and devices are also in talks with RIL.

Last year, in the first phase of trials RIL demonstrated
its TDD-LTE in Mumbai in conjunction with equipment vendor Ericsson and had
also tested LTE gear from Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei.

RIL with the market cap of Rs 249,166 crore is the only private company to
have the license to roll out services in all 22 circles, with the acquisition
of Infotel Broadband, which has won the pan-India license for BWA services. RIL
bought 95 percent stake in Infotel Broadband for Rs 13,000 crore.

Reliance has a strong LTE business model that will bring
a stable income for its telecom services. Their plans are to tap the untapped
broadband market with the right mix of content and devices,” said Sanjay Dhawan, vice president, Ericsson India.

RIL has plans to invest around $5 billion in telecom
over the next two years, including $1 billion in rollout capex and around $2.75
billion in BWA spectrum fees.

For the roll out of its LTE network, RIL will use the
already established fiber-optic cables network and access systems of the Anil
Ambani promoted Reliance Communications. Also, Reliance Industries is in talks
with cable operators and MSOs to buy or take on long-term lease their fiber
optic capacity.

The collaboration could go further. RIL is in talks with
manufacturers to install small base station antennae, instead of large towers,
linked through a fiber optic back haul to provide mobile BWA services. RIL can
leverage this large backbone to roll out services quickly.

Other BWA license holders are Aircel, Airtel, Tikona,
Qualcomm, BSNL, MTNL and Augere.

The entire industry is waiting for Reliance Industries’
LTE deal. Partnering with RIL’s telecom business will boost performance telecom
equipment vendors in other regions as well. We are equipped to supply LTE
equipments to Reliance,” said Devender Kumar, executive director, delivery and
services, Huawei Telecommunications India.

India’s LTE market is very huge because of its big
geography and hence it is equally important for the LTE equipment vendors.

More importantly, it is pertinent for the vendors to
cater the needs of RIL, which has the pan-India license for LTE roll out. With
pan-India license for all 22 circles, RIL could be a biggest business provider
to these equipment vendors.

By Danish Khan
[email protected]