Reliance Comm pays Rs 5,384 crore as spectrum liberalisation fee

Reliance Communications Anil Ambani
Telecom network operator Reliance Communications on Wednesday paid Rs 5,383.84 crore as spectrum liberalisation fee to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

The Indian mobile service provider has paid the fee to liberalise spectrum it holds in the 800 MHz band across 16 telecom circles.

The Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Communications recently announced its spectrum trading and sharing deal with Reliance Jio Infocomm.

IANS reports that the fee is toward spectrum sharing and trading in 16 circles for the 800-850 MHz band.

The company said it has 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 India government.

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

Sharing of spectrum 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.

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.

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.