BSNL to hive off telecom tower business; to issue tender for consultant

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3 Nov 2010
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Telecom PSU BSNL is considering hiving off its telecom tower infrastructure into a separate company and will float a tender this week for appointment of a consultant to suggest the business roadmap.

“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 us the roadmap,” BSNL Chairman and Managing Director R. K. Upadhyay told PTI.

He added that the company has around 70,000 towers and it will explore various business models that can realise the value of its infrastructure.

The plan to hive off the BSNL tower business into a separate entity is in line with recommendations made by the Sam Pitroda Committee for revamping the business of the PSU whose profit started declining from Rs 10,183 crore in 2004-05 before showing a loss in 2009-10.

The Committee has suggested forming 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).”

“Mobile telephony started in 1996. BSNL got a permit after five years in 2001 to start it. Within a year, BSNL acquired the top position. Through reforms, we are striving to regain our leadership position,” Upadhyay said.

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