New Delhi : In a major relief to the debt-laden Reliance Communications (RCom), the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Friday approved the telecom firm’s proposal to sell infrastructure assets including towers, optic fibre cable and spectrum to Reliance Jio.

“@CCI_India approves acquisition of RCOM’s towers, optic fiber cable, right to use spectrum and media convergence nodes by RJIO,” CCI i the anti-trust regulator tweeted. In December 2017, Reliance Jio had signed a pact to acquire the mobile assets that includes spectrum, mobile towers and optical fibre network of RCom-owned by his younger brother Anil Ambani. While neither Jio nor RCom had divulged the size of the deal, sources pegged the transaction value at Rs 18,000 crore.

RCom statement had said the deal packs in 122.4 MHz of 4G spectrum in the 800/900/1800/2100 MHz  bands, over 43,000 towers, 1,78,000km of fibre and 248 media convergence nodes. At the time of the announcement, the firms had also said that the transaction is likely to be completed in a phased manner by March 2018. However, an arbitration panel in an interim order has restrained RCom from asset sale or transfer.

NCLT gives a week

In another development, the National Company Law Tribunal has given Reliance Communications and Ericsson a week’s time to negotiate a settlement. NCLT has not however admitted Ericsson’s insolvency petition against RCom, and will now hear the matter on March 21, according to lawyers present in the court.

Ericsson had earlier told the tribunal that RCom had not paid them their dues for the past two years and only few post-dated cheques were given. In September, it filed a case of insolvency in the NCLT against the operator to recover Rs 1,150 crore for services and equipment supplied. Negotiations between the two to reach an out-of-court settlement have failed so far.

Meanwhile, Reliance Communications Enterprise, a promoter firm of RCom, on Friday pledged shares worth Rs 304 crore with Housing Development Finance Corporation. Reliance Communications Enterprise has pledged 13.4 crore shares accounting for 4.85 per cent of total share capital of Reliance Communications with HDFC.

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