The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released proposals which will allow wireless network operators to share infrastructure, in a move which could help ease the heavy costs of expansion into the country’s rural areas. The TRAI said it had submitted recommendations to India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT), which must give final approval.
TRAI estimates India will require about 330,000 base stations by 2010, more than triple the current count of 100,000. Infrastructure sharing, it says, is crucial for faster roll out of base stations across India’s vast interior, much of which is difficult to access because of poor roads and lack of electricity. Apart from the huge investment needed, the time taken to roll out infrastructure could be a major hindrance in meeting the government’s target of 500 million fixed and wireless telephony subscribers by 2010. The regulator has proposed not only ‘passive’ infrastructure sharing of physical space and tower equipment, but also more sensitive ‘active’ infrastructure, which includes operations such as transmission systems and antennas.