From January, RCom customers may be able to use Reliance Jio 4G

HP_CDMAdeviceCustomers of Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications Ltd may be able to use 4G services from next month thanks to an agreement with Reliance Jio, according to sources.

Jio, as we have already reported, is scheduled to launch its services by the end of this month and the company’s subscribers will be eligible to use RCom’s 2G and 3G networks, while RCom subscribers will be able to use RJio’s 4G LTE network, according to industry sources.

At present, Jio and RCom are supposed to have a spectrum sharing agreement in the circles where both companies have 4G spectrum in the same band.

Those circles are Bihar, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh East.

UPDATE: Though the 4G sharing arrangement between RCom and Jio has been approved by the DoT with effect from January 22, RCom users will have to wait for the official launch of Jio services for being able to use 4G. 

In these circles, Jio has already created a 4G network in the same band where RCom has 4G spectrum (800 MHz). Therefore, it makes zero financial sense for RCom to put up another network instead of adding its spectrum to Jio’s network. This is the logic behind the two brothers’ sharing deal.

Not surprisingly, therefore, RCom subscribers in the above circles will be eligible to use Jio’s 4G service because of the spectrum arrangement.

What is not clear is whether subscribers of the Anil Ambani company will be able to use Jio’s 4G network in the remaining circles. To enable this, the two companies will have to enter into an intra-circle roaming agreement for 4G.

At present, the companies are reported to have an intra-circle roaming agreement for 2G and 3G across India. Jio does not have its own 2G and 3G networks, and depends on partners like the Anil Ambani firm for providing voice services.

Reliance Communications, which recently announced the takeover of MTS, has plans to launch its own 4G network in the remaining circles by mid 2016.

Once that network is launched, the company may not need Jio’s network support in any of the key circles. In addition, RCom’s 4G network will offer superior indoor coverage in most places because of the spectrum that it will use, compared to all other 4G networks.