ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of IT & Telecom (MoITT) has finalised the draft of the Infrastructure Sharing Framework to boost competition as well as reduce the cost of doing business for mobile and internet service providers.
The ministry expects that the infrastructure sharing — active and passive — would promote resource optimisation which will eventually benefit the customers with improved services and competitive rates.
Active infrastructure sharing involves sharing the electronic network components including the Operational Support System (OSS), Business Support System (BSS), fibre and radio networks etc.
While passive infrastructure sharing allows operators to share physical sites, buildings, premises, towers, power supply, batteries, diesel, air-conditioning, etc.
At the same time the customers too will benefit from the provisions of new and innovative services, and improved coverage with the presence of multiple operators mainly in remote areas compared to a few who have limited capability, the ministry maintains.
The working paper of the framework has highlighted that telecom network deployment involves heavy capital expenditure (Capex) and operational expenditure (Opex) for operators and is considered a major deterrent for network expansion.
It added that the other challenges faced by mobile operators as well internet service providers to expand their businesses include delays in rolling out new network infrastructure as they have to procure Right of Ways from various land-owning agencies, the operational and maintenance cost, low average revenue per user issue in Pakistan, etc will be addressed by the new framework.
The draft is uploaded on the MoITT website and is open for feedback from stockholders for 15 days, after which it will be forwarded to the federal cabinet for approval.
The consultations in this regard were initiated by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in October 2020 to develop the sector without major investments by the existing players.
The IT ministry says the savings can facilitate mobile operators’ migration to next-generation technologies. “It shall also facilitate domestic and foreign direct investment,” the working paper of the framework added.
The framework has given an example of a study conducted in some European countries that the sharing arrangements indicate significant cost-savings that are up to 35 and 45pc for both passive and active infrastructure sharing.
It has been highlighted that sharing of infrastructure will help the environmental sector too due to reduced emissions and towers will add to the beauty of cities.
Published in Dawn, january 6th, 2023
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