27 September, 2020

Tango On Tower-I

Anil Ambani's Reliance Comm wants to be a GSM player now. Will he succeed?

Tango On Tower-I
It was a contentious issue between the two Ambani siblings, Mukesh and Anil, during their public spat in 2004-05. The latter didn't agree with the strategies initiated by Mukesh in Reliance Infocomm, the lynchpin of the group's telecom business. So, after the split last June, Anil, who got control of Infocomm, was expected to rejig the existing business model. He did that a few weeks ago with a surprise move that's likely to rewrite many of the existing rules in the telecom sector.

Now a leader in the CDMA mobile technology segment, Reliance Communications, the holding firm for Anil's telecom forays, sought approval from the DoT to provide GSM services in two of the largest markets in India—Delhi and Mumbai. (Globally, CDMA and GSM are competing technologies providing similar mobile services.) It sent a shockwave through the industry as, apart from a Chinese operator, China Unicom, and our state-owned BSNL, no one offers both technologies in a serious and profitable way.

So, why has Anil chosen to tread this path? Before answering...


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