Mumbai: Business sense seems to be finally taking precedence over personal differences, or perhaps it's brotherly affection lending a helping hand. For the first time since their split, the Mukesh Ambani-promoted Reliance Industries Ltd has started selling a product of younger brother Anil Ambani's Reliance Communications Ltd.
Reliance Digital, the electronics store operated by Reliance Industries' retail arm Reliance Retail Ltd, last month started selling the Reliance 3G Tab--a 7-inch tablet offered by Reliance Communications, sources in the know told.
More importantly, the elder brother's conglomerate that had stopped use of Reliance Communications' network and phones for official use when the split happened in 2005, is now offering the tablets to its employees at a discount along with a bundled 3G data plan from Reliance Communications.
Following this news, shares of Reliance Communications shot up nearly 3 percent to a high of 99.80 rupees. However, the stock came off the high to end at 96.30 rupees on the National Stock Exchange, up 1.1 percent from Saturday's close. Reliance Industries shares ended down 1.9 percent at 798 rupees.
Reliance Digital is selling the Reliance 3G Tab at 12,999 rupees each at its outlets while to the employees of Reliance Industries it is offering a 1,000 rupees discount, a Reliance Industries source said.
Employees of Reliance Industries are also being offered a discount of 4,388 rupees on the 12-month advance rental for the 1.5 GB data usage per month plan. The discount is 6,200 rupees and 10,188 rupees on the 3 GB and 7.5 GB data usage plans, respectively.
The move is interesting at a time when Reliance Industries itself is preparing to launch its 4G Wimax broadband services. In June 2010, Reliance Industries had acquired 95 percent stake in Infotel Broadband Services Ltd for around 48 bln rupees. Infotel Broadband was the only company that bagged a pan-India spectrum for broadband wireless access.
Reliance Communications will certainly get a boost from the retail support of Reliance Digital and RIL's bid to push the product with its employees, as both the 3G Tab and 3G telecom services are facing intense competition.
Reliance Digital currently has 57 stores spread across the country, including four in Mumbai.
This is for the first time since the two Ambani brothers signed a non-compete arrangement in May 2010 and agreed to enhance "co-operation and collaboration" between the two groups that their companies have come together on the business front.
However, both Reliance Industries and Reliance Communications did not reply to an email for confirmation of the development.
Reliance Industries has tied up with Network18 to get preferential access-- on first right basis as a preferred customer--to all content of Network18, TV18 and associates for distribution through the 4G broadband network being set up by its arm Infotel Broadband. NewsWire18 Ltd is a part of the Network18 group.
Reports suggesting that Reliance Industries may tie up with Reliance Communications for taking on lease the latter's telecom towers are also doing the rounds for the past several months.
The Street has also been speculating over a deeper tie-up between Reliance Industries and Reliance Communications.
The move is bound to warm the hearts and possibly the wallets of investors betting big on a thaw between Mukesh and Anil Ambani.