RCom, Jio approach DoT seeking its stand on proposed spectrum deal
Ambani brothers led telecom firms are learnt to have approached jointly telecom ministry seeking clarification on the stand of the government over their spectrum trading deal, industry sources said Friday. "Reliance Jio and Reliance Communications have jointly written to the Department of Telecom seeking clarification on its stand over spectrum trading deal between the two companies," an industry source told PTI. Another source said Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio has reiterated to DoT that it is interested in going ahead with the spectrum trade with his Anil Ambani's firm Reliance Communications.
The DoT has put the spectrum trading between the two companies on hold after Reliance Jio refused to bear the burden on any past dues that RCom owes to the government. In a letter to the DoT on Thursday, Jio cited petition of RCom before telecom tribunal TDSAT showing that the petitioners, who are the sellers, have retained the liabilities upon themselves. RCom too took the liability on itself with respect to the clearing of dues to the department. No immediate comments were received from the Department of Telecom, Reliance Jio and Reliance Communications in this regard.
RCom has offered the DoT corporate guarantee of Rs 1,400 crore issued by Reliance Realty Limited (RRL) and an undertaking from RRL not to alienate property for a value of Rs 1,400 crore for approving the sale of its spectrum to Reliance Jio. Last year, RCom signed a pact with Reliance Jio for the sale of wireless spectrum, tower, fibre and media convergence nodes assets - the proceeds of which were to be used to pare debt.
From that deal, RCom so far announced the completion of the sale of optical fibre assets worth Rs 3,000 crore and sale of its media convergence nodes worth Rs 2,000 crore to Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio Infocomm. RCom expects to get Rs 975 crore from sale of the spectrum which it has promised to pay due of Rs 550 crore to Ericsson and Rs 230 crore to settle dues of minority stakeholder Reliance Infratel.
Meanwhile, NationalCompany Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has put on hold insolvency proceedings against RCom after promise made by the company. NCLAT has adjourned the hearing to January 22 in the matter of Ericsson petition and RITL minority investors' related settlement petition. Total debt on RCom is estimated to be around Rs 46,000 crore.
(With inputs from agencies.)