These days we rarely see nine figure fiber IRUs hit the wires, but that’s what happened earlier this week in India. Reliance Industries wants to get into 4G, and to get there they’re tapping Reliance Communications for a whole pile of dark fiber across the country.
Owned by the frequently-at-odds Ambani brothers, the two companies haven’t exactly been known for their mutual cooperative spirit since the Reliance empire got split up 8 years ago. But they may have buried at least one of the hatchets, at least if their 12B rupee deal ($221M) for a dark fiber IRU is any indication.
Reliance Industries will use the fiber to build a national backbone, on which they will then build a 4G wireless network. Further cooperation may be on the table, e.g. when it comes to towers and such, but for now it’s a pretty good start.
The deal comes at a time when Reliance Communications is still feeling pressure from its debt load. They tried to IPO their submarine cable division last year but without much luck, and recent rumors now have them in talks with Batelco for a stake there. $221M won’t solve all their problems, but it’s not exactly pocket change either.
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