BSNL Current Affairs

Cabinet approves hiving off BSNL’s mobile tower assets into a separate company

The Union Cabinet has approved proposal for hiving off mobile tower assets of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) into a separate tower infrastructure company, fully owned by BSNL. Decision in this regard was taken in the Union Cabinet Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

Significance

The Cabinet approval authorizes BSNL to monetize its telecom tower infrastructure with formation of separate subsidiary company. Independent, dedicated tower company of BSNL with a focused approach will help to increase BSNL’s external tenancies and generate higher revenue for new company.

Tower Infrastructure Company

The tower infrastructure company owns passive infrastructure assets (tower structure, Diesel Generator sets, power interface unit, battery units, air-conditioning etc) and leases it to telecom service providers. It enables telecom companies to achieve economies of scale and reduce capital investment costs for providing mobile services. It helps them to minimize duplication of investments and economize on costs of Operation and Maintenance (O&M), thereby improving profitability.

Background

There are around 4.42 lakh mobile towers in country out of which more than 66 thousand are of BSNL. The telecom tower industry has emerged as independent business to harness potential for sharing of infrastructure. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) policy also allows sharing of passive infrastructure which has facilitated growth of the telecom infrastructure industry.

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BSNL Signs MoU with Facebook and MobiKwik

BSNL has inked agreements with Facebook and MobiKwik in order to popularize the internet and its value added services among its customers. Further, BSNL has also signed a third MoU with Disney Land India to offer premium online gaming services to its mobile customers. The series of MoUs signed by BSNL comes at the backdrop of a stiff competition faced by BSNL from private telecom companies like Airtel and Reliance Jio.

Agreement with Facebook

As per the terms of agreement signed with Facebook, BSNL will facilitate connectivity for Facebook’s `Express Wi-Fi Program’. Express Wi-Fi service program of the Facebook has been launched commercially in India and the service is now available via 700 hotspots across four states of Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Meghalaya. Express Wi-Fi is a part of Facebook’s global initiative to expand internet connectivity. Express Wi-Fi” services will complement mobile data offerings by providing a low-cost, high bandwidth service allowing users to get online for accessing apps, downloading contents amongst other things at affordable rates.

Agreement with MobiKwik

As per the MoU signed with the digital payments firm Mobikwik, BSNL and MobiKwik will work together to create  a BSNL mobile wallet to facilitate payment for its products and services. The wallet will be made available exclusively to the customers of BSNL. In addition, MobiKwik will also facilitate digital sale of BSNL SIM cards through its app and website.

 

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