NEW DELHI: Telecom operators will now be able to share active infrastructure, including core networks following amendment made by Department of Telecom in the licence norms.
The move is expected to reduce capital and operational expenditure of telecom operators like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
Department of Telecom (DoT) has also changed commercial VSAT licence rules to enable use of satellite connectivity to provide backend connectivity for mobile networks.
"The Licensee may share its own active and passive infrastructure for providing other services authorised to it under any other telecom licence issued by licensor," the new clause added in the licence norms said.
Earlier, only mobile towers and some active electronic components in the network were allowed to be shared among telecom service providers (TSPs).
Industry body COAI said there was a long pending demand by telcos to allow sharing of all active components in the network.
"At present, active infrastructure sharing was allowed to TSPs only for antenna, feeder cable, Node B and transmission systems.
"The allowing of sharing of core network elements such as MSC, HLR, IN etc. among TSPs will reduce the cost for TSPs and facilitate faster rollout of services. This is a very progressive step which will go a long way in enhancing digital connectivity in India," COAI Director General SP Kochhar said.
The amendment in commercial VSAT licence to allow use of satellite service through VSAT terminals to provide backend connectivity for mobile networks is expected to boost rollout of networks in difficult terrain and remote areas.
The provision will help telecom companies in rolling out networks in terrains where it is difficult to lay optical fibre cable to connect mobile towers.
The amendment allows VSAT companies in India to provide "backhaul connectivity for cellular mobile services through satellite using VSAT to the access service providers."
DoT has also allowed use of VSAT services to provide connectivity in the backend for setting up wifi hotspots.