Reliance Communications has recently reportedly approached the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to renew its telecom license for another 20 years in a bid to retain its right to spectrum and to keep running the enterprise business segment.
The company back in 2001 had bagged an erstwhile Unified Access Service (UAS) license in more than a dozen telecom circles that are set to expire next month. RCom however bagged Unified License (UL) in many telecom circles back in 2015 that will offer some relief to the bankrupt telecom service provider.
We at OnlyTech bring you an in-depth look at the telecom licensing of Reliance Communications and Reliance Telecom based on recent DoT data.
Telecom Licensing of Reliance Communications and Reliance Telecom
Reliance Communication in 2001 was granted erstwhile UASL authorization in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Orissa, Punjab, UP East, UP West, West Bengal, and Rajasthan on 20th July 2001.
Separately, Reliance Communications got UASL authorization for Tamil Nadu (including Chennai service area) on 26th September 2001 and Jammu & Kashmir on 6th September 2004.
Reliance Telecom separately got UASL authorization for Kolkata circle on 27th September 2001 on top of the existing Reliance Communications authorization for Kolkata.
Reliance Telecom currently holds a Unified License (UL) with Access Service authorization in Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and North East w.e.f 12th December 2015.
Reliance Communications on the other hand currently holds a Unified License (UL) with Access Service authorization in Gujarat w.e.f 30th September 2017.
Reliance Communications UASL authorization in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Karnataka, Kerala, Kolkata, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP East, and UP West is set to expire on 20th July 2021.
Reliance Communications UASL authorization in Tamil Nadu is set to expire on 26th September 2001 while Reliance Telecom UASL authorization in Kolkata is set to expire on 27th September 2001.
The company notably has active spectrum holdings in multiple telecom circles. RCom has more than 100 MHz spectrum holdings across the country in various frequency bands including 800 MHz band, 900 MHz band, 1800 MHz band, and 2100 MHz band. The specturm holdings are worth thousands of crores in pro-rata rates based on 2021 Auction discovered pricing.
If RCom fails to bag Unified License (UL) wherever its telecom license is expiring, it won’t be able to use the remaining spectrum nor can it service the enterprise segment. It would still have ownership of the spectrum bought in auction but won’t be able to use it without the license.
RCom will also have to disclose the ownership of the company if it tries to renew it’s telecom license. If Anil Ambani claims to the owner then he will be liable for the entire debt and if UVARCL claims to be the owner then it will become liable.
Wherever RCom bagged UL authorization in 2015 it can continue to use the spectrum acquired by it although everything else goes away from it. RCom’s best avenue in case DoT refuses to give a fresh UL license would be to sell off the spectrum or request DoT to take it back and adjust the refund against the dues that they owe the government.