Reliance Jio and Airtel have expressed interest in bidding for physical telecom infrastructure Reliance Communications led by Anil Ambani which is undergoing insolvency proceedings, a source privy to the development told PTI.
The two companies are not interested in buying spectrum held by RCom, the source said.
The battle over spectrum between the two telcos and DoT may be resolved only in the Supreme Court, said sector experts
The Economic times reported that about 12 companies have sent their expressions of interest to buy the RCom assets. However, Vodafone Idea was not in the list of suitors. As per the report, Deloitte will manage the bankruptcy process of RCom.
It also stated that all interested parties, the major concern is a legal battle between the telecom department and operators like RCom and Aircel, which too is bankrupt, over the ownership of their most valuable asset. The department has previously told the National Company Law Tribunal in the Aircel insolvency case that bankrupt telcos which had not cleared their dues must return their spectrum since that asset belonged to the government. While telcos can trade in the spectrum they acquired through auctions, they must first clear any payment arrears, including spectrum usage charge and one-time spectrum fee, or submit bank guarantees to cover for those, it had said. Both Aircel and RCom haven't met these requirements that the department had raised.
Companies still appear to be keen on the assets because the spectrum under the failure process will come in far cheaper than in government auctions.
However, with private equity firms seeking deals in the sector, the battle for the asset acquisition might get intense. Their interest would mostly lie on the assets rather than spectrum, which increases the competition between the telecom giants.