BSNL Dials Air­tel, Jio for Shar­ing Op­tic Fi­bre

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Mun­tazir.Ab­bas

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New Delhi: State-run Bharat San­char Nigam (BSNL) is in talks with pri­vate tele­com op­er­a­tors Bharti Air­tel and Re­liance Jio In­fo­comm for shar­ing its dark, or un­used, op­tic fi­bre as part of ef­forts to dou­ble its rev­enue from net­work shar­ing to about .₹ 3,000 crore in 2017-18.

BSNL’s col­lab­o­ra­tion strat­egy, ini­ti­ated in 2015, gen­er­ated about .₹ 1,500 crore in ad­di­tional rev­enue in 2016-17 through ac­tive and pas­sive tele­com in­fra­struc­ture shar­ing with in- cum­bent tel­cos, which in­cluded .₹ 1,000 crore from tower shar­ing alone. “We will con­tinue to fo­cus on col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach and look to dou­ble the rev­enue to .₹ 3,000 crore this year,” BSNL chair­man Anu- pam Shri­vas­tava told ET.

He said that new­comer Jio and mar­ket leader Bharti Air­tel had ap­proached BSNL for dark fi­bre shar­ing. BSNL has the largest op­tic fi­bre-based net­work spread over nearly 7 lakh kilo­me­tres through­out the coun­try. Re­liance Jio In­fo­comm and Bharti Air­tel did not re­spond to ET’s emailed queries on the de­vel­op­ment. “Time is ripe. Ser­vice providers are fo­cus­ing on shar­ing in­fra­struc­ture within them­selves due to fi­nan­cial stress and are com­ing for­ward. BSNL will con­tinue to play a role in re­source shar­ing,” Shri­vas­tava said.

Fol­low­ing Jio’s dis­rup­tive launch in Septem­ber last year, the rev­enue of in­cum­bent tel­cos slumped in sub­se­quent quar­ters. The state-run telco has en­tered into 2G in­tra cir­cle roam­ing pacts with Bharti Air­tel, Voda­fone In­dia and Air­cel, while Mukesh Am­bani-owned Re­liance Jio In­fo­comm, in Septem­ber 2016, part­nered it for 2G and 4G ser­vices.

BSNL has of­fered mo­bile in­fra­struc­ture, op­tic fi­bre, in­tra-cir­cle roam­ing and band­width to pri­vate sec­tor play­ers, who have evinced ma­jor in­ter­est in tower shar­ing, Shri­vas­tava said.

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