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RIL’s next big bang: 4G?

After cashing in with BP deal, Mukesh Ambani gets room to expand anew with the expected roll-out of fourth generation wireless infocom services. Anupama Airy reports.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2011 23:03 IST
Anupama Airy

After securing a cash commitment of $7.2 billion (R32,400 crore) from UK energy major BP Plc under a landmark deal announced on Monday, the next big announcement from the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) is expected to be the roll-out of fourth generation (4G) wireless infocom services.

Apart from this, RIL has also worked out a blueprint to expand its petrochemical and polyester businesses.

“At present, telecom and petrochem plans are topmost on RILs agenda, and the company plans to roll out 4G services in India in the next two years,” a source close to RIL told HT, adding that detailed plans in this regard may be spelt out by June this year.

Given the ongoing issues over land acquisition and environment affecting coal mining in the country, RIL may go slow on its plans to set up coal-based power projects. When contacted, the official spokesperson of RIL refused any comments.

After its deal with BP, RIL’s cash stockpile is estimated to peak up to $15 billion (R67,500 crore). At the end of December 31, 2010, RIL had a cash worth $7.1 billion on its books and Ambani had said the $7.2 billion inflow from BP will figure in RIL’s books by the next fiscal.

RIL has already acquired a 95% stake in Infotel Broadband Services, which has bid for broadband wireless licences in all 22 telecom circles.

Ambani had said in the company’s last AGM that Reliance is poised to offer 4G wireless services in the country.

He had also said RIL’s total investment in new polyester and petrochemical manufacturing facilities will be the largest in the sector to be made anywhere in the world at any point in time.

On power generation, sources said that while RIL had initiated talks with power engineering major Bechtel few months back, land and environment issues has forced it to put its power and coal mining plans on the backburner.