India’s state-run BSNL reportedly is discussing sharing its spectrum with market leader Bharti Airtel in four regions.
BSNL, the country’s fifth largest operator with 82 million mobile connections, is looking to finalise a spectrum sharing deal in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (West), Bihar and Assam by June, the Business Standard reported. The spectrum frequency was not disclosed.
Loss-making BSNL aims to make use of its underused network assets. It is also holding talks with Reliance Jio Infocomm, Airtel, Aircel and Telenor about intra-circle roaming agreements.
Reliance Communication (RCom) and Jio, which finalised a spectrum sharing and trading alliance in January, were the first in India to take advantage of new regulations allowing spectrum sharing.
That deal will see RCom sell 800MHz spectrum in nine regions to Jio and both share bandwidth in the same band in 17 service areas. The two firms, owned by brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani, announced spectrum sharing and trading deals in August and September.
Spectrum sharing is allowed only in regions where both operators have spectrum in the same band. The new spectrum regulations do not allow the sharing of non-auctioned spectrum, so RCom needs to pay a market-linked price to the government for the spectrum. It applied to the Department of Telecom to ‘liberalise’ its holdings in the 800MHz band in 20 service regions.