Well-heeled new competitors with brand name recognition and other assets tend to shake up any market. So it is that even before launching service, Reliance Jio is forcing the rest of the India mobile service provider ecosystem to react to the coming change in markets, profit margins and revenue.
Reliance Jio already has shifted 4G prospects, forcing the other contestants to bolster their 4G assets or exit the market.
Bharti Airtel, for example, is closing on a purchase of Aircel 4G spectrum.
The deal to buy Aircel’s 4G spectrum in the 2300 MHz frequency band in eight circles is expected to be finalized by the end of March. After disposing of its spectrum, Aircel will merge with Reliance Communications.
Bharti Airtel’s 4G footprint at that time would increase to 18 circles from 15, closing the gap with Reliance Jio, the only mobile operator with pan-India 4G capability in all 22 circles.
Bharti Airtel already has purchased Augere Wireless, which owned 4G spectrum in the Chhattisgarh-Madhya Pradesh circle.
Tikona Digital could be next on the list to sell. It has 4G spectrum in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh (East), UP (West), Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.