Tuesday May 30, 2023

Govt prepares infrastructure-sharing framework for telecom sector to cut cost

January 06, 2023

ISLAMABAD: In a bid to incentivise the telecom sector for reducing its billions of rupees cost, the government has finalised a draft for infrastructure-sharing framework which will provide an opportunity to share towers and collaborate in other areas to reduce the cost.

There is a total of 56,000 towers installed all over the country and now the government has prepared a mechanism for the infrastructure-sharing framework. The Ministry of Information Technology & Telecom finalised the draft of the first-ever infrastructure sharing framework.

The draft is uploaded on the MOITT website and is open for feedback from stakeholders. After 15 days of feedback (if any), the draft will be sent to the federal cabinet for approval with necessary changes. Telecom infrastructure sharing is a broad range term that generally refers to sharing of telecom network components and associated non-electronic and physical infrastructure. Infrastructure sharing concept promotes resource optimisation by better utilisation of assets, avoiding duplication of network infrastructure, saves time and costs and accelerate service rollouts.

Telecom network deployment involves heavy CAPEX and OPEX liabilities for operators and is considered as a major deterrent for network expansions. Furthermore, delays in rolling out new network infrastructure, which are attributed to procuring Right of Ways (RoW), operational cost, maintenance cost & Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) are the challenges to licensed operators that shall be addressed.

Infrastructure sharing enables operators to focus on the competition in the service layer regardless of the extent of sharing. It shall also facilitate domestic & Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Operators can share whole or strategically passive elements of its network to share infrastructure costs while providing acceptable performance.

Furthermore, these savings can facilitate mobile operators’ migration to next generation technologies. The Telecom Tower Providers (TTP) licensee shall be authorised for Distributed Antenna System (DAS) for IBS, whose components include indoor antennas, jumpers, cabling (co-axial/fiber), connectors, taps/splitters, multiplexer, combiners, couplers, attenuators, grounding/earthing and associated power equipment (if any) and including such ”Telecom Infrastructure Facility” as the Authority may require by regulation.