BSNL signs tower-sharing deals

Dylan Bushell-Embling
12 Aug 2011


Indian PSU BSNL has signed tower sharing deals with a number of private operators as part of its bid to improve its balance sheet.


The operator has entered agreements to rent out certain mobile towers to Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices, Etisalat DB, Videocon, Aircel and Reliance Communications, Economic Timessaid


And senior management has instructed regional heads to prioritize responding to tower rental requests, a source told the paper, adding that the company anticipates it could eventually secure some 10 billion rupees ($220.7 million) in annual revenue from tower rental agreements.


The company has around 60,000 mobile towers across India, many of which are lying idle.


Management appears to prefer the tower sharing idea to an alternate proposal to spin off its tower assets into a separate subsidiary.


But because a number of towers are in rented premises, the company would need to sub-let the sites for a higher fee than they pay. This issue has reportedly led to some internal scepticism over whether reaching tower sharing deals will be easy.


BSNL has been under pressure to turnaround its run of losses, with the communications ministry recently announcing it will split management of – and accountability for – the company into zones.


Dylan Bushell-Embling

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