Reliance Communications

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Reliance Communications Limited
TypePublic
ISININE330H01018
IndustryTelecommunication
Founded15 July 2004; 17 years ago (15 July 2004)
FounderAnil Ambani
FateBankruptcy (Mobile Network Division)
HeadquartersDAKC, ,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
  • Anil Ambani
    (Chairman)
  • Bill Barney
    (Co-CEO)
  • Manikantan Viswanathnan
    (CFO)
  • Prakash Shenoy
    (Company Secretary)
Products
Services
  • Internet Services
  • Network Services
  • Cloud Networking
  • Data Center Services
  • Enterprise Voice
  • Cloud Telephony
  • Collaboration Services
  • Wholesale Voice
  • Value Added Services (VAS)
RevenueIncrease 40.15 billion[1] (2019)
Decrease 8.67 billion (2019)
Members9,479[2]
(June 2021)
Number of employees
3,038 including
1,819 permanent employees (2018)
ParentReliance ADAG
Divisions
Subsidiaries
Websitewww.rcom.co.in

Reliance Communications Limited (RCOM) was an Indian mobile network provider headquartered in Navi Mumbai that offered voice and 2G and 3G and 4G data services. In February 2019, the company filed for bankruptcy as it was unable to sell assets to repay its debt.[3] It has an estimated debt of 500 billion (equivalent to 530 billion or US$6.9 billion in 2020) against assets worth 180 billion (equivalent to 190 billion or US$2.5 billion in 2020).[4]

As of March 2020, the company reworked its strategy and continues to operate 4G data services, fixed-line communications, data center services, and enterprise solutions as well as subsea cable networks under the banner name, "Global Cloud Xchange".[5]

History[edit]

Reliance Communications was founded in India on 15 July 2004 as Reliance Infocomm Limited[6] with the introduction of its nationwide CDMA2000 service. It became Reliance Communications Limited in 2006.[7] The company introduced its GSM service in 2008. It began using MIMO technology in 2011 to improve the quality of its 3G service, providing a data rate of up to 28 Mbit/s.[8]

In the 2010 spectrum auction, Reliance obtained licenses for 3G spectrum in three cities at a total licensing fee of 58.64 billion (equivalent to 110 billion or US$1.5 billion in 2020).[9] The company reduced the price of its 3G service by 61 percent in May 2012.[10]

Reliance and Lenovo introduced their co-branded Android smartphones in India in 2013.[11]

The company ended its CDMA operations in 2016, and migrated its subscribers to its GSM and LTE networks by September the same year.[12][13]

Acquisition of MTS India and Digicable[edit]

On 1 July 2010, the board of Reliance Communications confirmed the acquisition of Digicable India's largest cable network in all-stock deal. The new entity was named Reliance Digicom, which integrated RCOM's DTH TV, IPTV and retail broadband operations with Digicable.[14]

On 14 January 2016, Reliance Communications announced that it had acquired Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL, operating as MTS India) in an all-stock deal. SSTL received a 10 per cent stake in Reliance Communications after repaying its existing debt. Reliance Communications would assume responsibility for instalments that MTS owed the government for spectrum purchases, amounting to 3.92 billion (equivalent to 4.8 billion or US$63 million in 2020) every year for 10 years. As a result of the deal, Reliance acquired MTS India's subscribers and SSTL's spectrum in the 850 MHz band.[15]

India's antitrust regulator, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the merger in February 2016.[16] The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) also cleared the deal. SSTL shareholders approved the merger on 18 March 2016.[17] By mid-August, it was approved by tax authorities and the shareholders and creditors of Reliance and SSTL.[18] The merger was approved by the Rajasthan High Court on 30 September 2016[19] and the Bombay High Court on 7 October 2016.[20] In April 2017, Reliance laid off 600 employees in preparation for its mergers with MTS and Aircel.[21] The Department of Telecommunications gave the final approval for the merger on 20 October 2017.[22][23] On 31 October 2017, Reliance Communications announced that the merger was complete.[24][25]

Attempted merger with Aircel[edit]

In September 2016, Reliance Communications announced Aircel had agreed to a merger.[26][27]

The company announced on 15 March 2017 the Securities and Exchange Board of India, Bombay Stock Exchange, and National Stock Exchange of India approved the merger.[28][29][30] The deal was approved by the CCI on 20 March.[31][32] Aircel and Reliance shareholders approved the merger on 22 and 24 April 2017, respectively,[33] and it was expected to be completed by mid-2017.[34]

However, on 1 October, Reliance allowed the merger agreement to lapse.[35] The deal, which was expected to help the company repay 250 billion (equivalent to 300 billion or US$3.9 billion in 2020) of debt, was cancelled due to delays by entrenched competition.[36] Reliance was looking at other options to meet their obligations under the SDR agreement and avoid insolvency proceedings by banks.[37] Due to the failed Aircel merger, the company announced to employees in the wireless and DTH businesses on 25 October 2017 that they would be redundant effective 30 November. On 29 December 2017, Reliance discontinued voice services in India and provided only 4G data service.

The Ericsson case[edit]

In 2013, RCom signed a multi-year managed services agreement (MSA) with Ericsson to manage services of wireline and wireless network of 100,000 kilometres (62,000 mi) of fiber and mobile infrastructure in 11 telecom circles in India. This arrangement was a smooth business relationship until 2016, post which RCom struggled to pay the dues. This has been seen as an effect of Reliance Jio that disrupted the Indian telecom industry with its aggressive pricing after its commercial launch in September 2016 that affected all leading telecom players.

By September 2017, Ericsson terminated the MSA and approached the NCLT to recover dues of 11 billion (equivalent to 13 billion or US$170 million in 2020).[38] By May 2018, the NCLT initiated insolvency proceedings even as RCom tried to sell spectrum and other assets. At the same time, RComm reached out to Ericsson and agreed to pay 5.5 billion (equivalent to 6.3 billion or US$82 million in 2020) as a settlement with a personal guarantee from Anil Ambani on the condition of withdrawal of insolvency proceedings. The Supreme Court reviewed the matter in August 2018 and ordered RComm to pay up 5.5 billion (equivalent to 6.3 billion or US$82 million in 2020) to Ericsson by 30 September. RCom failed to comply with the payment and sought an extension of 60 days to comply. Ericsson filed a contempt petition in Supreme court.

In February 2019, the Supreme Court has held Anil Ambani and three others guilty of contempt of court and directed them to make payments by 19 March. In the meantime, Mukesh Ambani, the elder brother of Anil helped him with a bailout of 4.63 billion (equivalent to 4.9 billion or US$64 million in 2020) which he paid just a day before the deadline on 18 March.[39] Reliance Communications Limited has paid 5.5 billion (equivalent to 5.8 billion or US$76 million in 2020) to Swedish multinational telecom and networking firm Ericsson a day before the Supreme Court’s deadline, the Anil Ambani-led company said in a statement.

Sale of the company's assets[edit]

During 2020, a consortium of companies is bidding upwards of $200 Million USD to buy the assets of Reliance Communications.[40] Members of the consortium include NKV Krishna's White Lotus Group, Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Group, Bharti Airtel, UV Asset Reconstruction (UVARCL) and US-based Varde Partners.[41]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Investor Relations – Financial Results". Reliance Communications. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Press Release on Telecom Subscription Data as on 31st October, 2020" (PDF). trai.gov.in. 20 February 2019.
  3. ^ Siddiqui, Danish (1 February 2019). "RCom goes to bankruptcy court to resolve debt burden". Reuters. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  4. ^ ET Bureau (2 February 2019). "RCom to move NCLT to offload assets, repay debt". The Economic Times. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  5. ^ "GCX". Global Cloud Xchange. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Reliance set to revolutionise mobile services". Rediff. 27 December 2002. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Stocks". Bloomberg News.
  8. ^ [42 Mbps]
  9. ^ "RCom launches 3G services in 3 cities". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 14 December 2010. Archived from the original on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2011.
  10. ^ "RCom slashes 3G tariff by 61%". The Times of India. 25 May 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2012.
  11. ^ "RCom partners Lenovo to launch sub-Rs 8,000 smartphone". The Hindu. 31 January 2013. Archived from the original on 28 May 2018.
  12. ^ "RCom kicks off migration process; to upgrade CDMA subscribers to 4G LTE network". Telecom Talk. 2 April 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Reliance Communications Posts Nearly 6% Rise in Q1 Profit". NDTV. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  14. ^ "RCOM acquires Digicable in all-stock deal". The Times of India. 1 July 2010. Archived from the original on 8 October 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Reliance Communications acquires Sistema's MTS India in all-stock deal". Business Today. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Reliance Communications gets CCI approval to acquire MTS". NDTV. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Sistema Shyam shareholders approve merger with Reliance Communications". The Economic Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  18. ^ "DoT's approval for SSTL-RCOM merger likely in Q4: Sistema". The Economic Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  19. ^ "RCom gets Rajasthan HC approval for Sistema acquisition". Business Standard. Press Trust of India. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  20. ^ "Reliance Communication gets Bombay HC approval for Sistema acquisition". The Economic Times. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Pink slips for 600 as Reliance Communications trims fat". The Economic Times. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Telecom department approves RCom-MTS merger". The Economic Times. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  23. ^ "RCom-Sistema Shyam merger gets DoT approval". The Economic Times. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 24 October 2017.
  24. ^ "Reliance Communications Completes Merger With MTS". NDTV. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  25. ^ "Reliance Communications completes merger with MTS". Zee News. 31 October 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  26. ^ "RCom, Aircel announce merger; create fourth largest telco in India". The Times of India. 14 September 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2021.
  27. ^ Pandey, Piyush (14 September 2016). "RCom-Aircel merger a strong challenger to Idea Cellular". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  28. ^ "Reliance Communications Gets SEBI, Exchanges Nod For Aircel Merger". NDTV. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  29. ^ "Reliance Communications gets Sebi nod for merger with Aircel". Business Standard India. Press Trust of India. 15 March 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  30. ^ "RCom-Aircel merger gets SEBI nod". Business Line. 15 March 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  31. ^ "RCOM gets CCI approval for Aircel merger". India.com. Indo-Asian News Service. 20 March 2017. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  32. ^ Lead, Telecom (20 March 2017). "RCOM-Aircel merger deal gets CCI approval". Telecom Lead. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  33. ^ "Anil Ambani-driven RCom, Aircel shareholders approve merger – ET Telecom". ETTelecom.com. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  34. ^ "RCom says Aircel merger to be completed by 2017 middle, MTS merger by March". Telecom Talk. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  35. ^ "RCom abandons mobile business merger with rival Aircel". Financial Times. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  36. ^ Sengupta, Devina (2 October 2017). "RCom calls off Aircel merger; blames legal uncertainties, policy directives for delay". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  37. ^ Raj, Amrit (3 October 2017). "RCom readies for fire sale of its assets to pare debt, as Aircel merger fails". Livemint. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  38. ^ "Trouble call".
  39. ^ "A timeline of Reliance Communications versus Ericsson case". Moneycontrol. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  40. ^ www.ETTelecom.com. "RCom lenders to meet Jan 2 to consider asset bids – ET Telecom". ETTelecom.com. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  41. ^ "Airtel, Reliance, 3 others may submit bids for RCom assets on Monday". The Financial Express. 24 November 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2020.

External links[edit]