BSNL may team with MTS on 4G services

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net

State-owned Indian operator BSNL is in talks with Sistema's MTS to offer jointly-branded 4G services in the market.

BSNL is in the final stages of talks with MTS, a company source told the Business Standard. The partners are also awaiting the government's anticipated new policy allowing spectrum sharing and trading.

Telecom regulator Trai has already recommended that the government allow sharing and trading of spectrum between operators, and a policy is expected soon.

MTS currently offers services in nine of India's 21 telecom circles, and has around 10 million customers in the nation.

BSNL meanwhile has been looking for ways to turn around its loss-making business. The company currently lacks 4G spectrum of its own and will rely on partnerships with private players, as well as using Wi-Fi APs as 4G hotspots, to provide 4G services.

Data-related investments are expected to account for a significant proportion of BSNL's planned 390 billion rupee ($6.11 billion) capex budget for the next five years, the report states.

BSNL meanwhile hopes to pull itself out of the red by the 2018-19 financial year.

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