Power Grid Corporation of India is expected to finalise a contract for leasing out its tower infrastructure for telecommunication by the end of May.
The company had shortlisted Viom Networks and Microqual Techno for the lease in December. “We are close to finalising the tender. It is expected to happen by the end of this month,” a senior Power Grid official said. However, the official refused to give the size of the contract.
Power Grid has informed the Central Electricity Regulatory Authority about its plans to use power transmission towers for the purpose of telecommunication. The company had invited bids for leasing out 12,000 towers in four states — Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh — to independent tower firms or mobile service providers. It has 150,000 towers across the country, with about 70 per cent located in semi-urban and rural areas.
The company would come out with tenders for leasing in rest of the country in the coming months, the official added. In the first half of the last financial year, Power Grid had received an in-principle approval from its board of directors for venturing into this business stream. It expects its revenues from the telecom business to grow to Rs 350-400 crore over the next 4-5 years, as against the current Rs 150 crore.
With the telecom industry adding 14-15 million subscribers monthly and the entry of new operators, companies are looking to share infrastructure and save costs. A telecom tower costs about Rs 10-15 lakh. Power Grid diversified into the telecom sector four years ago. It offers end-to-end leasing of bandwidth to telecom operators through its overhead transmission infrastructure.
Power Grid’s main business involves laying transmission lines. It owns and operates 72,000 circuit kilometres of transmission lines and alone transmits over 45 per cent of the total power generated in the country.
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