Mobile companies play brothers!

DQW Bureau
07 Oct 2004

Big players like Bharti have already started working on the infrastructure
sharing side

As different service providers are busy investing heavy amo-unts in
establishing networks after networks-wireless infra-structure sharing at the
service provider level can provide a good option to reduce capex for an

"Sharing of infrastructure allows mobile service provi-ders to work
together to achi-eve 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 Prakash Ranjalkar, senior VP and Country Manager, GTL
Ltd network engineering .

Explaining the reason why it has not taken off so far, Ranjal-kar said that
till now infrastru-cture competency was impor-tant for an operator. Coverage was
king and it was used to great competitive advantage. "But now the scenario
is chan-ging and operators should seriously look forward to leveraging on
existing infra-structure," he added.

With more and more subs-cribers being added in the Indian telecom fabric
every month, infrastructure sharing would hold ground in circles where there are
different ope-rators 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 obje-ctives," informed Atul Bindal, Chief Marketing Officer and
Mobility Director, Bharti Tele-Ventures group.

Ranjalkar is quick to add that "if an operator goes for a model
involving infrastructure sharing than it need not worry about the financial
burden of network expansion and con-centrate of its quality of service being

On the policy side of things, telecom watchdog-Telecom Regulatory Authority
of India (TRAI) believes that infrastru-cture 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 invest-ment to
quite an extent.

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" explained advisor at TRAI Rajendra Singh.

Zia Askari (CyberMedia News)

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