As a prelude to a likely public spinoff or a stake sale, Reliance Communications (RCom) is planning to transfer all the assets of its subsidiary Reliance Infratel, which controls the towers that transmit telecom signals, into an independent entity and merge it with an external tower services provider.
RCom has 95 per cent stakes in Reliance Infratel. A source familiar with the development said the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group plans to later sell a stake in the company when they acquire 100,000 towers.
Reliance Infratel has 54,000 towers. It is expected to go up to 64,000 towers in a year’s time.
Indus Towers, a joint venture between Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar and Idea, is its main competitor. It owns more than 100,000 towers and is the largest tower company in India. It plans an initial public offer (IPO) of shares sometime in the future.
“Post merger, Reliance Infratel will be comparable in size to Indus Tower,” said the source.
Market sources say that the company is in discussions with GTL Infrastructure, India’s largest independent tower company that owns GTL. It owns 32,000 towers. It bought about 17,500 towers of Aircel about five months back.
GTL officials were not available for comments. An RCom spokesperson also declined to comment.