ITI Ltd has received an advance work order from BSNL for the operation and maintenance and sales and marketing of the passive infrastructure of 6945 BTS sites of BSNL’s GSM network in UP East, UP West, Uttarakhand, and Tamil Nadu circles. The provisional value of the contract is Rs 6633.56 crore inclusive of taxes. The order is for a period of 10 years.
BSNL has been exploring the possibility of spinning off or otherwise handing over its towers to a third party for effective management and monetization. The company has been struggling to maintain these sites due to financial difficulties and low staff strength. Due to their strategic location, the sites themselves are considered lucrative from the perspective of enabling seamless network coverage, especially in urban areas. Many of these towers are located inside BSNL telephone exchanges, and have a lot of extra space that can be rented to other telecom operators in return for monthly charges. BSNL has been cutting its staff in recent years to cut costs, which made it more desirable that the process of maintaining the towers and renting them out be handed over to a third party.