Jio seeks Infotel merger; telcos raise salaries to safeguard critical staff

3 Jun 2014

Reliance Jio Infocomm, the telecoms startup of petrochemical giant Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has informed the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) that it intends to merge with its wholly-owned subsidiary Infotel Telecom Ltd (ITL) in order to offer national and international long-distance (NLD and ILD) services under a single licence, the Economic Times reports. Infotel holds concessions for NLD and ILD services, whilst Jio’s concessions permit the operator to offer data and voice services using spectrum in the 2300MHz (all 22 circles) and 1800MHz (14 circles) bands. A joint letter from the two providers was quoted by the paper as saying: ‘In view of [Jio] holding unified licence having authorisation of all services including NLD and ILD services, we wish to carry out NLD and ILD business under a single licence. It is, therefore, proposed to consolidate ITL and [Jio] into one single company through amalgamation.’

In related news, the Economic Times reported yesterday that India’s telcos were improving pay packages for senior members of staff to prevent newcomer Jio from poaching talent from incumbent providers. With Jio expected to begin commercial services later this year, the deep-pocketed cellco is offering a 20%-25% salary increase for circle-head-level positions. In response, existing operators have upped the rate of pay increase for their senior staff in a bid to safeguard critical staff. Ashok Ramchandran, director of HR for Vodafone India explained that the company is looking to ring-fence around 130 mid and senior-level employees in areas such as general management and with specific skills relating to 3G networks through long-term retention programmes: ‘Competition is looking for our people. They like our people. This year in appraisals, the attachment of salary increases to performance has been stronger than ever at Vodafone.’

India, Vodafone India (formerly Hutchison Essar), Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Infotel Broadband (Reliance Industries – RIL), Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL),

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