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TDSAT Clears The Deck For RCom Spectrum Sale To Reliance Jio

The move will help the Anil Ambani group company emerge debt-free soon.

In a relief to Reliance Communications (RCom), the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has permitted the debt-laden company to go ahead with its proposed spectrum sale to Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio). The move would help the Anil Ambani group company emerge debt-free soon.

On Thursday, TDSAT rejected a Department of Telecommunications (DoT) plea to modify an earlier order that approved sale of spectrum, but with riders.

In its interim order earlier this month, the tribunal had permitted RCom to sell spectrum and use the proceeds of about Rs. 975 crore to pare debt. However, the DoT had raised a number of issues, including securitisation of Rs. 2,900 crore for Spectrum Usage Charges from RCom, which the company had termed as “unjust”.

RCom had also challenged this demand before TDSAT, which came up first for hearing on October 4. Sources close to the development said that TDSAT ordered that the spectrum trading deals should not be held back.

RCom now expects to complete spectrum trading without the bank guarantee of Rs. 2,900-crore sought by DoT, following TDSAT’s permission to go ahead with the sale. Earlier, TDSAT had also given an interim stay on DoT’s demand.

RCom was expecting to receive Rs. 13,000 crore in the final tranche of payment from Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) in the next few days, enabling it to completely exit the debt-restructuring process.

Of the total, RCom will receive Rs. 975 crore, while Rs. 12,025 crore will be paid to the 38 secured lenders, including a clutch of public and private sector banks. From the Rs. 975 crore, the Anil Ambani group company will have to pay Rs. 550 crore to Swedish telecom equipment-maker Ericsson and Rs. 230 crore to HSBC Daisy Investments (Mauritius).

RJio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RIL, emerged as the successful bidder in a two-stage bidding process. The company will acquire RCom’s more than 43,000 towers, 1.78-lakh route km of optical fibre cable network, 122.4 MHz of spectrum in the 800, 900, 1800 and 2100 MHz bands and 248 Media Convergence Nodes. These assets are expected to contribute significantly to the large-scale roll-out of RJio’s wireless, fibre-to-home and enterprise services. – The Hindu Business Line

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