You are here: Home » Companies » News » Telecom
Business Standard

TC to consider BSNL bid for mobile towers in North East

BSNL's Rs 1,648 cr bid for setting up mobile towers in unconnected villages of North East will be reviewed

Bsnl North East Telecom Project

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

A woman speaks on her mobile phone in front of the logo of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) painted on a wall outside its office in Kolkata. Photo: Reuters

The Telecom Commission is likely to consider BSNL's Rs 1,648 crore bid for setting up mobile towers in unconnected villages of the North East in its meeting tomorrow, official sources said.

Mobile towers will be installed under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan for the North-Eastern Region (NER) which was approved by the Cabinet in September 2014.

Under the plan, 8,621 villages out of 9,190 unconnected villages are to be covered by installation of 6,673 mobile towers with total outlay of Rs 5,336.18 crore.

"Telecom Commission is likely to consider BSNL's part of North East telecom project tomorrow," a government official, who did not wish to be named, told PTI.

The Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), which is handling the project, is likely to submit bid proposal for installing around 4,000 out of the 6,673 mobile towers.

The state-run BSNL has been entrusted with task of installing network in tough terrain of Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam -- Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.

It has submitted bid received from Vihaan Networks Limited and HFCL for installing around 2,000 towers for Rs 1,648 crore. These two domestic telecom equipment firms had rolled out mobile network project for BSNL in Left wing extremist areas across nine states.

Rest of the project was to be rolled out with help of private telecom operators. After no-show by private telecom players for the tender, the USOF finally received a bid from Bharti Airtel this year which was cleared by the Telecom Commission in its last meeting on September 8.

Airtel has placed a bid for installing around 2,000 mobile towers for around Rs 1,660 crore.

According to sources, the USOF has deferred plan to roll out mobile towers in Meghalaya for time being and will work on the project through separate tenders.

The Telecom Commission will also discuss recommendations of inter-ministerial group.

The IMG -- tasked with finding a remedy to the financial difficulties of the telecom sector -- had recommended that the payments for spectrum purchased in auctions be made in 16 installments (16 years) as against the current practice of 10 years.

The IMG had also favoured a cut in interest rates on penalties by switching from PLR based to MCLR based rate, which could provide relief of about two percentage points in the current situation.

The Indian telecom industry, which is in the midst of an intense tariff war, owes a staggering Rs 4.6 lakh crore to various financial institutions and banks. Old telecom operators have blamed their declining margins to tariff war triggered by entry of Reliance Jio about a year ago.

The panel in its last meeting had sought additional details from IMG over on its recommendations.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, September 28 2017. 14:48 IST