Telecom operators welcome new terms for infrastructure sharing

April 1st, 2008 - 9:19 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) India Tuesday unveiled new guidelines for telecom operators to share transmission systems and cables in a move to reduce call tariffs and increase rural connectivity, which have been welcomed by the leading operators. This would enable the operators to reduce the cost of rolling out telecom networks, especially in remote areas of the country.

“The guidelines are aimed on reducing the input costs on telecom access providers which the telecom ministry hopes would facilitate in reduced tariff and increased tele-density in rural areas,” said a statement issued by the communications ministry.

As per the earlier rule, Indian telecom operators were only allowed to share passive infrastructure such as towers, power units and buildings.

“We believe this is yet another positive step by the government to improve the penetration of telecom services, particularly in rural areas. It will also provide the industry with an opportunity to bring down its operating costs and hasten network roll-outs,” Manoj Kohli, president and CEO, Bharti Airtel said in a statement.

“Above all the customer stands to benefit the most in terms of better quality and enhanced affordability,” the country’s largest telecom service provider added.

Similarly, the Cellular Operators Association of India said: “(The move) would herald a significant acceleration in the growth and expansion of networks and coverage leading to more speedy rollout and delivery of cost effective services in both urban as well as rural areas.”

The new guidelines have also made the approval process for setting up towers simpler and easier.

According to the new guidelines, individual companies would be able to set up towers without entering into a partnership with the telecom firms.

The move follows the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) decision to end a levy on service providers that was used by the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) towards rural telephony, which was found commercially not lucrative.

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