Reliance Industries’ telecom arm will use Bharti Airtel’s submarine cable network to provide data connectivity across Asia Pacific, the two companies announced today. Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, which had earlier this month signed a Rs 1,200 crore deal to share Reliance Communication Ltd’s fibre optic network in the country to roll out its 4G services, will hire capacity on Bharti’s i2i cable network connecting India to Singapore. “Bharti Airtel Ltd, a leading global telecom services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, and Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd today announced that they have signed an Indefeasible Right to Use (IRU) Agreement, under which Bharti will provide Reliance Jio data capacity on its i2i submarine cable,” an RIL statement said.
Bharti and Reliance Jio will continue to build on this “strategic framework” and consider other mutual areas of cooperation and development, they said. The i2i cable’s landing points are at Chennai in India and Tuas in Singapore. “Reliance Jio will utilise a dedicated fiber pair on i2i. The high speed link will enable Reliance Jio to extend its network and service reach to customers across Asia Pacific region,” the statement said. It will connect Reliance Jio directly to the world’s major business hubs and ISPs, thereby, helping the operator to meet the bandwidth demand and provide ultra-fast data experience to its customers. “The deal marks Reliance Jio’s continued efforts to rapidly grow and expand both its international and domestic network and infrastructure by building an ecosystem with multiple carriers and service providers,” it added. Bharti’s global network runs across 225,000 km, covering 50 countries and 5 continents. It includes ownership of i2i submarine cable system connecting Chennai to Singapore, consortium ownership of SMW4 submarine cable system connecting Chennai and Mumbai to Singapore and Europe, and new cable system investments like Asia America Gateway (AAG), India Middle East & Western Europe (IMEWE), Unity, EIG (Europe India Gateway) and East Africa Submarine System (EASSy).
It also has terrestrial express connectivity to neighbouring countries including Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan and China. Reliance Jio is the only pan India operator with Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum across 22 circles capable of offering fourth generation (4G) wireless services. With a portfolio of products to include high speed broadband connectivity, communications, entertainment, and loud services, the firm plans to deliver integrated digital services across the nation.