The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) amended the Unified Access Service Licence (UASL) on Tuesday to permit sharing of backhaul through microwave, which is used to connect towers. It has also allowed sharing of WiFi equipment, which includes routers and access points, among telecom players.
At present, licence sharing of active infrastructure amongst service providers is allowed in certain areas, like antennae, feeder cable, radio access network and transmission systems. This list has now been expanded to include backhaul and WiFi equipment.
The move is expected to give a big boost to sharing of backhaul spectrum between operators to power the towers.
Around 70 per cent of the country’s tower infrastructure is on microwave backhaul and the move aimed at helping the shift to fibre backhaul and use microwave linkages. However, the impending data revolution in the country, which requires large amounts of data and high speeds, has also put a strain on microwave backhaul capacity.
Many telcos have been asking for more backhaul spectrum to take care of their growing needs.
The DoT has also allowed a UAS licensee to enter into mutual commercial agreements for roaming facilities (within the same service area or other service area) with unified licensees having category A, B and C internet service providers (ISPs) for providing internet access services only.
According to estimates, the country will require an investment of $3.5 billion by 2023 to reach the target of 60 per cent backhaul fiberisation. Business Standard News