BSNL Dials Airtel, Jio for Sharing Optic Fibre
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.