Indian market leader Bharti Airtel has signed a major infrastructure sharing agreement with Reliance Jio Infocomm.
The deal will cover most backbone infrastructure, including cellular towers, fibre optic networks and submarine cables.
The agreement also includes broadband services and could be extended to cover roaming on 2G, 3G and 4G networks. The partnership could allow both operators to reduce their expenditure on network deployment. The potential ramifications for other operators in the market are significant and it could provoke an interesting reaction.
Reliance Jio signed a tower-sharing agreement earlier this year with Reliance Communications, which suggested a warming of relations between the Ambani brothers, who each own one of the companies following the breakup of their father’s Reliance business in 2005.
It has been suggested that the deal with Bharti could adversely affect this pre-existing deal which would be bad news for RCom. However, other reports have indicated that there is no overlap between the agreements, allowing them to complement each other.