BSNL mulling tower split-off, will tender for consultant on plans

20 Aug 2012

Indian state-owned telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is understood to be considering splitting its telecom tower infrastructure into a separate company, with the Hindu Business Line reporting that the operator is set to float a tender seeking a consultant for such plans. ‘We are exploring the opportunity to bring our tower business under a separate company for optimum utilisation. In this regard, BSNL will issue expressions of interest this week to appoint a consultant that will suggest [to] us the roadmap,’ BSNL chairman and managing director RK Upadhyay was cited as saying. The executive noted that BSNL currently has around 70,000 towers in operation, adding that various business models will be explored with a view to realising the value of the infrastructure.

Such proposals are in line with suggestions made by the committee headed by Sam Pitroda, advisor to the prime minster on public infrastructure and innovation. This working group had called for a revamping of BSNL, including the formation of a separate ‘subsidiary company for tower related infrastructure to aggressively market to other public and private sector customers and unlock whole/substantial potential value through strategic stake sale, mergers and acquisition or separate IPO (Initial Public Offer).’