The day when I discussed about Uncertainties surrounding Reliance Jio Infocomm, warring Ambani brothers embraced each others in Arms and announced the Inter-City OFC Sharing Deal and kept options for other passive infrastructure sharing. However, that does not end the problems of Reliance Jio Infocomm as it’ll require seamless voice calling services achieved by Airtel using CSFB for LTE customers.
VoLTE is possible theoretically and in reality, most operators across the world are 4G/ LTE network for data play and switching to 2G/3G networks for Voice services.
Why can’t Reliance Jio share Spectrum with Reliance Communications ?
Indian Telecom Ministry is either short sighted or on purpose doesn’t clarify the rules of the game with the motivation of corruption. TRAI recommendations for spectrum sharing mentions that operators whose entire spectrum has been liberalized i.e. those who have paid the market / auction price of spectrum should be permitted to share spectrum without any additional one-time charge. [ This is the point of contention of 3G Intra-circle Roaming]. Any spectrum sharing would be allowed only after the operator pays the market price of spectrum – currently stands at Rs11,800 Cr for 5MHz pan-India spectrum in 1800MHz band. At this price Reliance Jio Infocomm will have significant cost implications.
So the only alternative, IMO, with Reliance Jio is to be a MVNO like Virgin Mobile was for Tata DoCoMo and lease RCom’s Voice Minutes in Bulk and Bundle with LTE Data Plans.At a time when established Players like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea are struggling to grow, Reliance Jio has many more challenges ahead.