Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) said it would not be affected by the legal implications of several cases against brother Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications (RCom) but also stressed that the latter is a licence holder and its spectrum sharing deal still stands.
“RCom continues to be a license operator. They have not paid, but that does not disqualify them (as a license holder) and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is looking into it. DoT has sent show cause notices for not paying (dues ) but the company is in a peculiar situation where there are court cases going on in National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) and Supreme Court (SC),” said Anshuman Thakur, strategy head of Jio.
The DoT served a show cause notice to RCom for defaulting on Rs 21 crore in spectrum dues. RCom, the operator under a debt of Rs 46000 crore, also defaulted on another
instalment of Rs 281 crore. Thakur said Jio was waiting for the decisions of the various legal battles that RCom is fighting. He was referring to RCom defaulting on spectrum related dues twice and that the telecom department’s battles with the debt laden operation in an appellate tribunal and the
“Today they are eligible to share spectrum and use that network to service enterprise customers. If there are any changes, we will get to know, because it’s between the courts and DoT,” Thakur added. Jio said that though it shares spectrum with RCom, it will not be impacted if the telco moves into insolvency or the spectrum is
Jio shares RCom’s airwaves in the 850 MHz band in 21 circles, including Mumbai, industry experts said scrapping airwaves by DoT could end up disrupting Jio’s services. But Jio insists it has enough spectrum of its own.
“We have plenty of spectrum ourselves across 850, 1800 and 2300 MHz across all circles. We have adequate spectrum to be not impacted by sharing dropping or anything happening to (RCom). If we need more, we can buy more,” said Thakur. He added that Jio can always buy spectrum from the auction but that will depend on a case-to-case basis. “We have reasonably good, healthy spectrum and we will not get impacted. We share only about of 850 MHz. If you look at amount of spectrum we share, it is quite less,” he said.
RCom recently terminated a Rs 7,300-crore deal to sell 122.4 MHz of spectrum in the 850 MHz band to Jio due mainly to DoT’s refusal to grant approval as Jio did not agree to bear RCom’s historical dues.