Mumbai: Reliance Infratel Ltd, the telecom tower unit of Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Communications Ltd (R-Com), is close to finalizing a deal with three operators, R-Com’s wireless business chief executive officer Gurdeep Singh told analysts in a conference call on Thursday.
When asked by an analyst if the company is indeed close to signing a deal with the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd, Singh said, “It is premature for me to discuss any contour of a deal. At Reliance Infratel, we are at advance stages of discussion for large infrastructure deal with three operators, as and when we consummate the discussion we will let you know.”
R-Com is in negotiations with Reliance Industries for a tower-sharing deal as the latter prepares to roll out fourth generation 4G services, according to media reports.
An analyst at a Mumbai-based brokerage, who did not want to be named, said, “We are curious who the three operators are. There are only five operators truly speaking in competition, including R-Com, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Vodafone India Ltd, Idea Cellular Ltd and Tata Teleservices Ltd. If RCom says it is in discussions with three of them, there could be a realignment of the tower business.”
R-Com’s stock closed down 9.14% to Rs 80.05 on BSE on Thursday, while the Sensex lost 0.51% to 19,923.78 points.
The Reliance Infratel deal will help R-Com reduce its debt burden of Rs 37,360.6 crore as of December 2012. R-Com has been in discussions for selling a stake in its tower business for about five years.
In 2010, R-Com was in discussions with GTL Infrastructure Ltd to merge their tower business but the Rs50,000 crore-transaction fell through.