State-owned operators ink infrastructure sharing deal

24 Sep 2013

State-backed telcos Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) have signed a deal to share infrastructure and jointly provide services to corporate customers. Reuters writes that the two debt-laden telcos will share assets such as buildings and long-distance networks, although there is little overlap between the two telcos’ respective footprints – MTNL operates in the Delhi and Mumbai areas whilst BSNL provides services in the other 20 circles. The deal will help cut costs for the pair, which have come under increasing pressure from private telcos and both have booked losses for the last four years.

A potential merger of the duo was proposed in 2002, but the plans have received only intermittent support: a government panel approved plans to unite BSNL and MTNL in April 2011 but the issue was put on the back-burner before being revived during recent talks on how to reverse the fortunes of the two ailing telcos.

India, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL)