In a move that may bring the two Ambani brothers closer, Mukesh Ambani-led RIL is in talks to hire the infrastructure of younger sibling Anil's firm RCom for its telecom foray.
According to sources in the know, Anil Ambani-led RCom will be providing all infrastructure —- towers, fibre, backhaul as well as its national and international long distance facilities-- to RIL's high-speed broadband services.
RCom has 50,000 towers, 2.77 KM optical fibre network and over 1 million retails outlets (including company-owned, franchisee and distributors).
This is supposed to be a pure business deal, sources said, adding that RIL is talking to 4-5 telecom infrastructure companies for towers and RCom happens to be one of them.
"Whosoever gives the best deal, we shall go ahead," sources in the Mukesh camp said.
According to market reports, Reliance Industries (RIL) is initially looking at about 30,000 towers. If this deal goes through, it will positively impact valuation of RCom's tower arm, for which the company is in talks with PE firms to sell the majority stake of 95%.
According to sources, RCom might also provide wholesale voice services to RIL and the latter will bundle this with its broadband or 4G data offerings.
RIL has pan-India broadband wireless access spectrum for offering high-speed broandband services equivalent to 4G.
It is learnt that RCom, which has 3G spectrum in several circles, including Delhi and Mumbai, has sold about 100,000 tablets since it launched the product at about Rs 12,000 a piece a few months ago. On this front too, sources said, both companies may work together.
Besides tower and optical fibre network, RIL may also use RCom's retail network for marketing its products.
Asked when RIL will launch its services, sources declined to give any time-frame, saying the company is still testing the technology.