Reliance Jio gets unified licence; can offer pan-India voice, data services

New Delhi: The department of telecom has granted Relaince Jio Infocomm, the telecom arm of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), unified licence that would enable it to offer a host of services including voice telephony.

The crucial licence was given to the company on Monday, CNBC TV18 has learnt.

The unified licence will enable Reliance Jio - the only operator to own nationwide fourth generation radio waves - to offer both voice and high-speed data services to subscribers across all the 22 telecom circles in the country.

 Reliance Jio gets unified licence; can offer pan-India voice, data services

Reuters

Several other companies have also applied for similar licences in the recent past. This permit allows an operator to offer all kinds of services - telephone, internet and related services to subscribers. The company has paid the government around Rs 1,673 crore for the licence.

Interestingly, the ability to offer voice services is a crucial element of this licence, especially as this segment accounts for a majority share of Indian telecom sector revenues.

Mobile data has been slow to take off in India on account of high tariffs as well as lack of high quality and ubiquitous network coverage. Due to this voice remains the way to acquire subscribers.

Reliance Industries, the country's largest conglomerate, had returned to the telecom services market in 2010 by purchasing fourth generation, broadband wireless access spectrum in a government auction.

Since then, the company has been setting up its network and is currently running trial networks at some locations in Delhi, Mumbai and its petroleum refinery complex at Jamnagar, Gujarat.

Earlier this month, RIL had said its subsidiary plans to provide reliable fast internet connectivity and digital services on a nationwide basis.

In addition to fixed and wireless broadband connectivity, Reliance Jio also plans to target specific sectors such as education, healthcare, security, financial services, government-citizen interfaces and entertainment.

Reliance Jio has been rapidly expanding its network infrastructure and operational resources. From less than 700 employees a year ago at its Navi Mumbai campus, the company now has 4,000 employees across locations.

The company has also finalised the key vendor and supplier partnerships, although the details have not yet been announced.

In the past year, Reliance Jio entered into key definitive agreements with Reliance Communications for sharing inter-city optic fibre, as many as 45,000 towers and for joint working arrangements to configure the scope of additional towers to be built at new locations.

The company has also struck an agreement for international data connectivity with Bharti to utilise dedicated fibre pair on Bharti's i2i submarine cable that connects India and Singapore.

Singapore is integral to Reliance Jio's plans. The company has been awarded with a Facility Based Operator Licence in the city state that will allow it to buy, operate and sell undersea, terrestrial fibre connectivity, set up internet points of presence, offer internet transit and peering services as well as data and voice roaming services in the city state.

Disclosure:The Reliance Group has funded the promoter of Network18, which publishes Firstpost.

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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 23:36:18 IST