India's department of telecommunications (DoT) has amended the commercial VSAT license rules to enable sharing of satellite infrastructure and backhaul connectivity for cellular mobile services and access service providers.
According to DoT, telecom operators will now be able to share active infrastructure, including core networks following the new amendments.
“The Licensee may share its own active and passive infrastructure for providing other services authorized to it under any other telecom license issued by Licensor,” the department said in a notification.
The sharing of infrastructure will be governed by the terms and conditions of respective licenses and amendments/guidelines to be issued by the licensor from time to time.
The move is expected to reduce the capital and operational expenditure of telecom operators like Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea.
Earlier, only mobile towers and some active electronic components in the network were allowed to be shared among telecom service providers (TSPs).
Meanwhile, the amendment in commercial VSAT licence to allow the use of satellite service through VSAT terminals to provide backend connectivity for mobile networks is expected to boost the rollout of networks in difficult terrain and remote areas.
The provision will help telecom companies in rolling out networks in terrains where it is difficult to lay optical fibre cable to connect mobile towers.
According to the notification, the VSAT hub can be located anywhere in the country. The link from the hub station to the respective network element of the cellular mobile network can be provided through the terrestrial obtained from an authorised service provider.