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DoT modifies license regulations to allow active infra sharing among telcos

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has revised the license regulations to allow active infrastructure sharing among telecom operators.

This also includes sharing of core networks.

The amendment is expected to reduce the capital and operational expenditure of telecom operators like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea.

DoT has also changed commercial VSAT license rules to allow the use of satellite connectivity to provide backend connectivity for mobile networks.

In other words, through this amendment, VSAT operators will be able to provide backhaul connectivity for cellular mobile services through satellite using VSAT to access service providers.

This provision will help telecom companies in rolling out networks in terrains where it is difficult to lay optical fibre cable to connect mobile towers. This move will therefore expectedly boost the rollout of networks in difficult terrain and remote areas.

The new clause added in the license norms reads, “The licensee may share its own active and passive infrastructure for providing other services authorized to it under any other telecom license issued by the licensor.”

Further, the DoT has allowed the use of VSAT services for setting up Wi-Fi hotspots with backed connectivity.

This is a big change, as prior to this tower infrastructure and electronic components within the network could be shared only telecom service providers. And that too active infrastructure sharing was allowed only for antenna, feeder cable, Node B and transmission systems.

This has been a long pending demand of the industry association COAI.

“We welcome the amendment in license conditions further enhancing sharing of active infrastructure between telecom operators. The allowing of sharing of core network elements such as MSC, HLR, IN etc. among the TSPs will reduce the cost for the TSPs and facilitate the faster rollout of services. This is a very progressive step which will go a long way in enhancing digital connectivity in India,” said Gen. Dr S.P. Kochhar, DG, COAI.

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