The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended allowing tower companies to share active infrastructure including RAN, but not licensed spectrum, in a move to encourage sharing of network resources which can reduce capex and opex.

In a statement, TRAI said it aims to enable active infrastructure sharing by enhancing the scope of providers and incentivising the deployment of common sharable, passive and active, equipment.

Currently, the country only permits passive sharing of wireless equipment. Active sharing means multiple operators can share RAN gear at base stations, leading to cost reductions and faster deployments.

The recommendation would allow tower companies to own, set up and maintain all the infrastructure required for establishing RANs, wireline access networks and transmission links. But TRAI said they cannot own or deploy core network elements, or acquire licensed spectrum.

TRAI opened a consultation seeking comments from stakeholders in August 2019: the regulator said it received 29 submissions.

The regulator also recommended tower companies be barred from giving non-telecoms companies access to their infrastructure.