Reliance Industries (RIL), India's largest company by market value, is reportedly closing in on vendor selection for a $1 billion (€749 million) TD-LTE rollout to re-enter the telecom sector.
The company is testing LTE gear from Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Huawei, and expects to finalize the selection in the next one to two months, sources close to the discussions told India's Business Standard.
Services are expected to be rolled out within six to nine months of contracts being awarded, starting in India's major cities.
RIL acquired wireless broadband spectrum in each of India's 22 telecom circles in June, by paying 48 billion rupees (€801 million) for a 95% stake in auction winner Infotel Broadband - now Reliance Infotel.
The operator has already achieved 80Mbps in the downlink and 20Mbps uplink during trials of the technology on Ericsson equipment in November 2010.
RIL plans to invest $5 billion in telecom over the next two years, including $1 billion in rollout capex and around $2.75 billion in spectrum fees.
The launch of TD-LTE services will bring RIL’s owner Mukesh Ambani back into telecoms, after a five year non-competition pact with estranged brother Anil – signed when Reliance was split in 2005 – has now ended.