Archive for September, 2014

Reliance Jio Signs a Deal with GTE Infrastructure to Launch 4G in India by March 2015

September 23, 2014

With an aim to expedite the full roll-out of 4G by March 2015, Reliance Jio Infocomm has signed a tower-sharing deal with GTL Infrastructure. This deal will also help control costs at this stage of service deployment.

Sanjay Mashruwala, Managing Director of Reliance Jio Infocomm said, “Our mission is to launch pan-India next-generation voice and data services. We will build the same through a judicious combination of own build and rented infrastructure.” Further, he addedthat the GTL deal is “not only a step in that direction but will also help us accelerate our roll out.”

Reliance Jio has been actively entering into a number of infrastructure-sharing agreements with telecommunication companies that have existing passive infrastructure in place. In addition to quickening the pace of its launch, avoiding duplication of infrastructure, and lowering capital costs, this move can also help limit environmental damage since telecommunication towers tend to be heavy consumers of diesel.

Reliance Jio’s Roll-out Plans

The company intends to lease about 70,000 towers and install approximately 30,000 of its own. Since it aims to launch 4G data and voice services in the coming year, these figures also include smaller cell sites on single poles. According to the agreement with GTL Infrastructure, Reliance Jio will use about 30,000 of their telecom towers spread all over the country.

Last year, the company had announced an infrastructure-sharing deal with Anil Ambani-led Reliance Communications (RCOM). The deal proposed to use some or all of the 48,000 towers that are held by RCOM’s Reliance Infratelunit. Another tower-sharing agreement was also signed with Bharti Infratel along with an infrastructure deal with Bharti Group that allows Reliane Jio to use Airtel’s subsea cable network.

Picking up Pace

A spokesperson from the Switzerland-based multinational financial services company,Credit Suisse, said that Reliance Jio is very much on track with its plans to launch 4G services by March 2015. It has completed installation of about 32,000 Long Term Evolution (LTE) base stations across the country. Furthermore, the pace at which the installations take place has picked up to about 6,500 per month as compared to the rate of about 3,000 per month in May 2014.

Furthermore, the spokesperson said that that developments in the global LTE handset ecosystem is pushing down price-points at a fast pace. This means that sub-$100 LTE smart phones could soon become a reality. This shift in the market could be rather disruptive in India, where the top 30% of customers accounts for 70% of the revenues in the telecommunications sector.

Reliance Jio’s Airwaves License Agreements

Reliance Jioowns pan-India airwaves in the 2300MHz band since May 2010 and must deploy its 4G services by May 2015 to comply with its license agreement. It has also won the 1800MHz band airwaves at an auction in February this year. It is believed that this will be used to launch 4G data services and 2G voice services.

The spokesperson adds that Reliance Jio has also awarded a second LTE base station contract to Samsung for 50,000 to 70,000 units. This could result in the network size of the telecommunications company crossing 100,000 base stations.



Reliance Jio to Launch 4G Services in 400 Cities by March 2015

September 17, 2014

Amidst all the speculation about the future of 4G services in India, Reliance Jio is finally showing signs of its seriousness towards launching these services across 400 cities by March next year.

This year marks the completion of 1/5th of the total license period for Reliance Jio and 4 years have passed without the generation of any revenue.This put Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Mukesh Ambani under the scanner by the media and public alike.

Reliance Jio Back in Action

With the laying of the Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) being sped up, and a wide variety of equipment being imported and ready to be installed, the services are likely to see the light of day very soon. Sources say that the project is being led directly by Mukesh Ambani. There is a sudden change of vibe among company officials within Reliance Jio. The Delhi and Gurgaon offices have become an energetic hub of activity.

The cost to deploy 4G networks across India is estimated to run into ₹70,000 Crores. Global bank, UBS, recently valued Reliance Jio at ₹140 per share while adjusting for net debt of the business. Representatives also remarked that any sale of stake could drive up the valuations of the company.

As per a document submitted to bankers, Reliance Jio intends to roll out services in some of the leading urban cities and address rural area coverage as well. This plan takes into account the company’s ongoing endeavor in setting up 1,70,000-km long OFCs across the country.

A spokesperson from the company says, “While we believe that the revenues of the Indian telecom sector will continue to grow with the economy, its composition will shift from the predominant share of voice and text services as is the case today, to broadband and digital services in the years to come. Reliance Jio is well-positioned to capture a significant share of this revenue migration as well as of the additional value creation on account of broadband services.”

The success of this endeavor is important since the low broadband penetration in India makes end users more eager for 4G services.

RIL Increases Stake in Reliance Jio

Just ahead of its launch of 4G services, RIL has increased its stake in Reliance Jio to 98.9%. In March this year, it put in more capital into this business. The increased stake was bought over from the Nahatas, promoters of Infotel Broadband, since they did not make any additional investments after the 2010 rollout of services. Infotel Broadband was previously sold to RIL right after it won a pan-India broadband license in the year 2010. It is believed that the Nahatas will continue to have a seat on the board of Reliance Jio. Currently, they own 0.13% of stake in Reliance Jio. Additionally, Infotel Infocom owns 0.55% of the stake; NextwaveComm owns 0.17% of the company, while 0.25% belongs to other investors.


16 Nations to Participate in the Reliance Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships in Mumbai

September 11, 2014

The 20th edition of the Reliance Asian Junior Table Tennis Championships (AJTTC2014) will be held at the NSCI Sardar Vallabhai Patel Indoor Stadium in Mumbai from September 12thto 16th. 200 players representing 16 countries will battle against each other to win the muchsought-after championship. Out of this, 30 participantswill represent India.

India last hosted this championship in 2011 in New Delhi. The World Junior Championships were also held in India in 2012 for the very first time. The 2013 edition of the AJTTC was hosted in Doha.

Participating Nations and Sponsorships

The AJTTC2014 is considered to be among the most prestigious events within the junior table tennis circuit around the world. Participating nations include Singapore, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Iran, Hong Kong, China, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei and, the host country, India.

According to a recent press release, the event is being organized by the Mumbai City District Table Tennis Association and is being backed by the Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU), the Maharashtra State Table Tennis Association (MSTTA) and the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI).

The director of the tournament will be 8-time national men’s singles championship winner, Kamlesh Mehta. “In India, over 1 lakh players are associated with it (table tennis) professionally, and another 2 lakh play the sport as a hobby,” said Kamlesh Mehta. He adds, “Hosting the 20th edition of the championship, an event that will see the world’s top players, is very prestigious for us. This is the first time such a major event is coming to Mumbai, Maharashtra.”

2 of the world’s best table tennis players, Fan Zhendong (China) and Hoikem Doo (Hong Kong), are also expected to be present at the event.

Unveiling of the Official Logo

The official logo of the championship was unveiled by Nita Ambani, Founder & Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, along with former national champion and tournament advisor, Niraj Bajaj. Other members present during the unveiling included the Chairperson of the Organizing Committee, Vita Dani, TTFI Secretary General Dhanraj Choudhary, and Kamlesh Mehta.

Nita Ambani’s Vision for Sports in India

This is not Nita Ambani’s first interaction with the sporting world. In addition to being the co-owner of the Mumbai Indians IPL Cricket team, she has also leveraged her leadership position in Reliance Foundation to help children connect with the spirit of sports. In addition to pursuing a number of philanthropic activities, the foundation also works to inculcate a sense of excitement towards sports and inspiration to pursue one’s dreams.

As Founding Chairperson of Football Sports Development, she has been involved in the creation of the Indian Super League, a football league that is scheduled between October and December this year.

The league was started with goals that look beyond its commercial benefits. She believes that while the financials are important in driving investment into a specific sport, the key aspect of this football league will be to focus on grass root development, refurbishment of stadiums and inculcating a sense of professionalism in player management for sports in India.


Reliance Petrol Pumps to Start Selling Diesel by October 2014

September 2, 2014

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) is set to start selling diesel from over 1,400 petrol pumps across India from October this year. These operations are run jointly by RIL and Essar Oil in India. Diesel will be sold at the market price, without subsidy.

Within a few years of getting into the petro-retailing business, RIL had cornered about 14% of diesel sales. Unfortunately, the differential in the diesel prices of private retailers and state-owned oil marketing companies forced RIL to shut down its pumps in 2008.

Market Pricing of Diesel

Since diesel accounts for 44% of the total consumption of petroleum products in India, market pricing of this product is important for its retail segments to work viably. It is believed that about 85% of total sales at fuel pumps across highways and nearly 50% of sales at fuel stations nationwide consist of diesel. With the consumption of this fuel rising by 35.52 million tons within a short span of 10 years, the market is thriving more than ever before.

UPA’s Attempt to Minimize Losses

Diesel prices have been rising at the rate of 50 paisa per liter every month since January 2013 and were last raised on August 31.In this period, rates have cumulatively gone up by ₹11.81 per liter. The objective of these monthly hikes implemented by the former UPA government was to minimize losses incurred by the government due to the subsidies provided on diesel prices. The losses have since dipped significantly.

In May last year, the monthly increase trimmed losses to less than ₹3 per liter. However, the fall in the rupee value led to losses of ₹14.5 per liter in September. Since then, the monthly hikes have continued and the rupee as significantly strengthened.

Diesel Prices under the New Government

Fortunately, since March this year, losses have rapidly decreased with expectations about a decisive and stable government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The new government has played a significant role in helping the rupee gain against the dollar.

Between March and May this year, when the Modi government came into power, losses on diesel were pushed down by approximately ₹4 per liter. In August, the losses stood at ₹1.78 a liter. Last Saturday, diesel prices were hiked by 50 paisa per liter while petrol prices were slashed.

Deregulation of Diesel Prices

The current market sentiment is that deregulation of diesel prices looks imminent. The difference between the retail sale price and actual cost of diesel dropped to a historic low of only 8 paisa. For the first time in over a decade, it has been found that retail pump prices are almost in sync with the imported cost of diesel.

We also owe this situation to the monthly increases and softening of international oil rates. If this trend continues, India’s retail diesel prices will be at par with global rates within the next 7 days, not necessitating the next increase of 50 paisa per liter due on October 1.