India's Reliance Communications is reportedly in talks with rival operators seeking agreements that would allow it to continue offering 2G services in three markets after its 2G license in the markets expires in December.
The company is seeking to replicate its existing 3G intra-circle roaming agreements for 2G spectrum in the regions of Bihar, West Bengal and Assam, an unnamed source told the Press Trust of India.
According to the source, the operator has existing agreements with operators including Tata Teleservices and Aircel, and has also approached Vodafone, Idea Cellular and state-owned BSNL.
RCom failed to win back the 900-MHz spectrum it currently uses for providing 2G services in give circles. While it acquired 1800-MHz spectrum in two of these, it would need to double the size of its 1800-MHz network to provide the existing level of coverage to its 2G GSM customers.
RCom is mainly focusing on migrating its existing 2G customers to its 3G network, but a roaming agreement could help make the transition less time sensitive and with less of an impact on the operator's bottom line.
But any plans for a roaming agreement could be complicated by the government's challenge against the legality of the company's three-way 3G roaming agreement with Aircel and Tata Telservices.