Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd is expected to use between 30,000 and 45,000 mobile towers when it starts offering 4G services in the third or fourth quarter of this financial year, according to Credit Suisse.
"Our recent channel checks suggest that RJio has completed about 11,000 base station installations nationwide and is possibly targeting 30,000-45,000 base stations by launch. We expect this target to be met by December 2014 or March 2015," Credit Suisse analysts Sunil Tirumalai and Chunky Shah said in a recent report.
RJio's rollout of networks is progressing at 2,500-3,000 base stations a month and the pace is accelerating, according to the report. The rollout is well spread out across the country and will continue after the launch, the analysts said.
The company has signed deals with various tower companies through which it has access to about 1,92,500 sites.
Credit Suisse estimates that RJio's network at launch will be three times larger than that of all the companies that started operations in 2009-10 and disrupted India's telecom market with their price wars.
In a report in May, Credit Suisse said almost 60 per cent of RJio's nationwide fibre project appears to have been completed, making its fibre network quite comparable to those of the top telcos in at least the top cities and circles.
In the same report, the Zurich-headquartered financial services firm had said, "With quick strides in the LTE ecosystem and the expected launch of operations by RJio by December 2014, we remain cautious on the telecom sector."
The Credit Suisse analysts said RJio is in talks with Samsung which may offer 4G smartphones starting at about USD 150 per unit and as the launch nears, other lower-end handset makers could get involved.
"Our channel checks suggest that the companies have completed trials on Galaxy S4/S4 mini (including VoLTE), and are working towards having a range of handsets starting at USD 150 by the time of launch," Credit Suisse said in its report in June.