New Delhi: State-owned telecom major BSNL is planning to share infrastructure with other service providers, a move which will enable the company to roll-out services faster and reduce cost in expanding the network.
“We are considering bilateral infrastructure sharing with private operators... we have already invited an Expression of Interest from infrastructure providers, which will be finalised very soon,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Kuldeep Goyal told PTI in an interview.
The company had shared a few towers in Maharashtra with Bharti Airtel on a pilot basis, he said, adding this partnership can be extended to other circles also.
BSNL would take towers and other infrastructure on lease or rent in the proposed initiative. Bilateral infrastructure sharing with private operators across the country is also under consideration.
The telecom major wants to utilize passive telecom structures like towers, space and associated power system from infrastructure companies and telecom service providers on shared basis along with all related operations and maintenance activities in various locations of different telecom circles.
The company has about 30,000 towers across the country and operates all across the country, except in Delhi and Mumbai, with about 30 million mobile users.
According to industry estimates, there are about 180,000 telecom towers across India and there would be a need of over 400,000 towers by 2010. A tower costs around Rs 35 lakh.
This makes for good business sense for existing operators to rent out towers to rivals. Because of need of towers for expanding capacity, new entrants as well as existing operators will have to consolidate their infrastructure to generate value. Sharing infrastructure would mean having a single tower where all operators can install their equipment.