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Home News Power Sector News PowerGrid to lease space on transmission towers for mobile antennas

PowerGrid to lease space on transmission towers for mobile antennas

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Transmission TowerPowertel - A unit of the state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India is currently in talks with Quippo, Indus Towers and GTL Infrastructure for leasing out space on its power transmission towers. “Being a pan-India transmission major, we have about 1.5 lakh power transmission towers in the country. Since the backhaul is already available, we just need to lease out space on the towers where GSM, CDMA and wi-fi antennae can be placed,” a spokesperson on behalf of Mr T.K. Wali, head of Powertel (the telecom special business unit of PowerGrid), told .

As the battle for telecom subscribers shifts to non-metros, Powertel is confident that tower companies would be interested in sewing an arrangement with it. This is because the state-owned ‘navratna’ has 70 per cent of its towers in the semi-urban and rural areas, the spokesperson said on the sidelines of the ITU Telecom World.

According to a recent study, the country would require 1.5 lakh more towers in the next three years. It costs Rs 10-15 lakh in order to erect a telecom tower, something which both the new and existing telecom operators are wary about.

Every year, PowerGrid plans to add between 12,000 and 15,000 more towers for its power transmission needs, another PowerGrid official added. It wheels about 45 per cent of the total power generated in the country on its transmission network.

The company is currently in the process of working out a viable business model with tower companies such as Quippo, Indus Towers and GTL Infrastructure. It has already completed a pilot project with Vodafone in which it mounted a GSM antennae on Powertel’s towers at Siliguri in West Bengal, he added.

Sharing passive infrastructure is a fast catching up in India, as it helps keep the operating as well as capital expenditures low, a dire necessity for telecom companies given the global economic climate and the low-cost nature of services offered.

Currently, Powertel is also offering its network to telecom service providers such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Tata-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Communications and Bharti Airtel.

For the year ended March 2009, Powertel contributed about Rs 150 crore to the transmission major’s revenues of Rs 7,029 crore.

By March 2010, Powertel expects to clock Rs 180 crore in revenues. In the long run, PowerGrid intends to hive off Powertel into a separate subsidiary.

Source - Businessline

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