Reliance Jio Infocomm, part of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries, has joined India’s biggest telecom operators’ association, COAI, joining hands with Airtel, Vodafone and Idea.
In contrast, Reliance Communications, led by brother Anil Ambani, is part of the rival association, AUSPI. Tata Teleservices is also part of Auspi.
Facebook had recently joined COAI as a core member.
With RJIL on board as a core member, the number of COAI’s Core Members has gone up to seven, the association, headed by Rajan Mathews, said. Currently in process of creating the digital infrastructure backbone, RJIL is expected to commercially launch its high speed data and voice services (4G) in 2015, a statement said.
COAI’s Core Membership comprises of telecom companies that hold a valid license from the Government of India for provisioning of Communication Services.
“We are all acutely aware of the significance of the expansion of advanced data networks such as LTE in our country. This will hasten our broadband penetration, which currently pales in comparison to the penetration rates in both the developed and developing countries.
“We see ourselves contributing significantly by building out a nationwide high speed data network. We are therefore pleased to join the COAI, where along with other operators, we hope to create an operating environment that will help us realise this ambition for all Indians as an industry, in the overall context of our nation’s development.”
RJio already has an infrastructure sharing agreement with Bharti Airtel, arguably the most powerful member in the COAI. It also has deals with Reliance Communications, Bharti Infratel, American Tower Corporation, Tower Vision India, Viom Networks and Ascend Telecom.
Aircel, Telewings Communications and Videocon Telecom are also COAI members.
Its members provide about 68% of subscribers and around 71% of revenue share in the market, COAI said.
Apart from the seven Core Members, COAI also has 12 Associate Members.