Telecom sector Current Affairs - 2019

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Cabinet approves hiving off BSNL’s mobile tower assets into a separate company

The Union Cabinet has approved proposal for hiving off mobile tower assets of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) into a separate tower infrastructure company, fully owned by BSNL. Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Significance

The Cabinet approval authorizes BSNL to monetize its telecom tower infrastructure with formation of separate subsidiary company. Independent, dedicated tower company of BSNL with a focused approach will help to increase BSNL’s external tenancies and generate higher revenue for new company.

Tower Infrastructure Company

The tower infrastructure company owns passive infrastructure assets (tower structure, Diesel Generator sets, power interface unit, battery units, air-conditioning etc) and leases it to telecom service providers. It enables telecom companies to achieve economies of scale and reduce capital investment costs for providing mobile services. It helps them to minimize duplication of investments and economize on costs of Operation and Maintenance (O&M), thereby improving profitability.

Background

There are around 4.42 lakh mobile towers in country out of which more than 66 thousand are of BSNL. The telecom tower industry has emerged as independent business to harness potential for sharing of infrastructure. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) policy also allows sharing of passive infrastructure which has facilitated growth of the telecom infrastructure industry.

TRAI ink LoI with Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has signed a letter of intent (LoI) with Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) deepen bilateral cooperation in telecom and broadcasting regulation.

The LoI was signed on the sidelines of ongoing ITU-TRAI Asia-Pacific Regulators’ Roundtable jointly organised by the International Telecom Union (ITU) and TRAI in New Delhi.

Key Facts

The LoI will help both regulators to jointly conduct capacity building exercises in the fields of broadcasting and telecommunications regulation. It will help them to work closely in enhancing mutual cooperation and bilateral relations.

It will also facilitate exchange of information and regulatory best practices in the fields of broadcasting and telecommunications, including new and emerging areas. It will also help in exchange, deployment and attachment of experts from both the countries.

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)

The TRAI is an independent regulator of the telecommunications business in India. It came into existence by the Act of the Parliament in 1997. It was established in wake of entry of private sector in telecom industries after Government had launched the National Telecom Policy (NTP) to attract domestic and FDI investment in the telecommunication sector. Its mandate is to deliver a fair and transparent environment for fair competition in telecom market. TRAI also fixes or revises the tariffs for telecom services in India.