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Mukesh firm to use Bharti cable for its 4G blitzkrieg

Reliance Industries' telecom arm will use Bharti Airtel's submarine cable network to provide data connectivity across Asia Pacific, the two companies announced on Tuesday.

Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which had earlier this month signed a Rs 1,200 crore deal to share Reliance Communication Ltd's fibre optic network in the country to roll out its 4G services, will hire capacity on Bharti's i2i cable network connecting India to Singapore.

'Bharti Airtel Ltd, a leading global telecom services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd  announced that they have signed an Indefeasible Right to Use (IRU) Agreement, under which Bharti will provide Reliance Jio data capacity on its i2i submarine cable,' a RIL statement said.

Bharti and Reliance Jio will continue to build on this 'strategic framework' and consider other mutual areas of cooperation and development, they said.

The i2i cable's landing points are at Chennai in India and Tuas in Singapore. 'Reliance Jio will utilise a dedicated fiber pair on i2i. The high speed link will enable Reliance Jio to extend its network and service reach to customers across Asia Pacific region,' the statement said.

It will connect Reliance Jio directly to the world's major business hubs and ISPs, thereby, helping the operator to meet the bandwidth demand and provide ultra-fast data experience to its customers.

'The deal marks Reliance Jio's continued efforts to rapidly grow and expand both its international and domestic network and infrastructure by building an ecosystem with multiple carriers and service providers,' it added.

Bharti's global network runs across 225,000 km, covering 50 countries and 5 continents.

It includes ownership of i2i submarine cable system connecting Chennai to Singapore, consortium ownership of SMW4 submarine cable system connecting Chennai and Mumbai to Singapore and Europe, and new cable system investments like Asia America Gateway (AAG), India Middle East & Western Europe (IMEWE), Unity, EIG (Europe India Gateway) and East Africa Submarine System (EASSy).

It also has terrestrial express connectivity to neighbouring countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and China.Reliance Jio is the only pan India operator with Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum across 22 circles capable of offering fourth generation (4G) wireless services.

With a portfolio of products to include high speed broadband connectivity, communications, entertainment, and cloud services, the firm plans to deliver integrated digital services across the nation.


AIRTEL TO ACQUIRE UAE-BASED WARID’S TELECOM UGANDA

Bharti Airtel on Tuesday said it has entered into a definitive agreement with UAE-based Warid Group to acquire Warid Telecom Uganda, strengthening its footprint in the African region.

After the acquisition, existing 2.8 million Warid customers in Uganda will join Airtel's network that serves over 269 million customers globally, the company said in a statement.

It, however, did not reveal financial details of the deal.

'... it has entered into a definitive agreement with the Warid Group to fully acquire Warid Telecom Uganda...the agreement is subject to regulatory and statutory approvals,' the statement said.

After the acquisition, Airtel will further consolidate its position as the second largest mobile operator in Uganda with a combined customer base of over 7.4 million and market share of over 39 per cent, it added.

Bharti Airtel, the country's largest mobile telecom operator, had made a foray into the African region in 2010 by acquiring Zain Telecom's operations in 15 countries of that region. Now, it has operations in 17 African countries, including Nigeria and Uganda.

In 2010 too, the company had acquired 70 per cent stake in Warid Telecom Bangladesh.

'We are delighted at this agreement with Warid, which also happens to be the first in-market acquisition in Bharti Airtels history. We believe this market consolidation offers great synergies by bringing together the best of Airtel and Warid to better serve customers in Uganda,' Bharti Airtel MD and CEO (International) Manoj Kohli said.

'We are extremely pleased with this development, which offers Warid consumers added benefits like wider network coverage, most extensive 3G network and world class products and services from one of the worlds largest mobile services provider,' Warid Uganda Board Member Mohammed  Nahayan said.
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