|The Department of Telecommunications will soon move a Cabinet note to hive off state-run BSNL's towers into a separate company.|
The new unit would have a valuation of Rs. 8,000-10,000 crore. BSNL has about 71,000 towers across India. The company generated revenues of around Rs. 200 crore from the tower business, which is expected to go up to Rs. 2,000 crore once the new unit was set up.
"BSNL will have 100 per cent stake in the tower unit, which will be maintained at arm's length," a senior official said. Sources said it would take at least six months to work out the modalities of setting up a tower subsidiary. The BSNL board had approved the hiving off earlier.
BSNL has leased out 4,500 towers to Reliance Jio and about 1,500 to Bharti Airtel. The company was also working on setting up 40,000 Wi-Fi hotspots with an investment of Rs. 6,000 crore over three years.
It would invest Rs. 2,000 crore to modernise telephone exchanges and deliver modern services through landline phones. "The project will be completed in two years. We will use landline phones to boost our broadband services as well," BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava said.