Wireless infrastructure sharing a boon

By : |September 24, 2004 0

NEW DELHI: As different service providers are busy investing heavy amounts in establishing networks after networks — wireless infrastructure sharing at the service provider level can provide a good option to reduce capex for an operator.

"Sharing of infrastructure allows mobile service providers to work together to achieve operational synergies not just on the financial side but also on the capex side. As much as 40 percent of capex can be saved by a mobile operator," explained GTL Ltd network engineering senior VP and country manager, Prakash Ranjalkar.

Explaining the reason why it has not taken off so far, Ranjalkar said that till now infrastructure competency was important for an operator. Coverage was king and it was used to great competitive advantage. "But now the scenario is changing and operators should seriously look forward to leveraging on existing infrastructure," he added.

With more and more subscribers being added in the Indian telecom fabric every month, infrastructure sharing would hold ground in circles where there are different operators vying for the same set of subscribers.

Big players like Bharti have already started working on the infrastructure sharing side. "We were always open to this idea of infrastructure sharing. In fact, we are doing this with different players in different circles of the country. This is especially helpful if you want to increase your reach in the country.

So, if an operator is working on infrastructure sharing basis than its chances of penetrating deep into the country are fairly balanced with regards to business objectives," informed Bharti Tele-Ventures group chief marketing officer and mobility director, Atul Bindal.

Ranjalkar is quick to add that, "if an operator goes for a model involving infrastructure sharing then it need not worry about the financial burden of network expansion and concentrate on its quality of service being offered."

On the policy side of things, telecom watchdog — Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) believes that infrastructure sharing will bring in more revenues to the operator as well as reducing the ‘cost to connect’ for an individual customer.

"Building separate base stations is a time consuming process, so if an operator shares that infrastructure than it is going to lower its investment to quite an extent and at the same time it can increase its footprint to different locations. Though we have not come up with a definite consultation paper in this regard, we are telling different operators to consider this initiative, as this is good for the industry as a whole. This would definitely lower the cost at the consumer level," explained advisor at TRAI, Rajendra Singh.

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