NEW DELHI: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Wednesday described as “completely false” a recent report talking about the possibility of a sale of the state-run telco’s mobile tower business to Reliance Jio Infocomm.
On Wednesday, a Hindi-language daily reported that the government-controlled telco was looking to sell its tower arm to the Mumbai-based private telco that has commercially launched pure-play fourth-generation (4G) services in September 2016.
“This is completely false,” BSNL Chairman Anupam Shrivastava told ETTelecom.
“There is no truth in it. Had BSNL wanted to sell its mobile towers to any private sector firm, it wouldn’t have formed a separate company and brought them under it,” Telecom Officers Association (TOA) general secretary Anil Kumar Tiwari added.
In September 2017, the Cabinet had approved the telco’s proposal to hive off its telecom tower portfolio into a new fully-owned subsidiary which would become operational within the next two years.
BSNL has already formed a new tower company called, BSNL Tower Corporation Limited (BTCL). “The regulatory process is underway and it would start operations soon,” Shrivastava told earlier.
The telco is also looking to add 12,000 mobile towers as a part of 3G expansion in FY 2018-19.
The Narendra Modi-led government has already allowed telecom service providers to share their infrastructure with other operators and included mobile towers, diesel generator sets and battery units.
Mobile tower sharing has contributed close to Rs 1,000 crore in 2016-17, as a part of state-backed telco’s collaboration strategy.
— With assistance by Muntazir Abbas