Mobile connectivity: Norms for setting up telecom towers near borders eased

Written by Anil Sasi | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 20 2014, 13:54pm hrs
Telecom towerEarlier, telecom service providers were barred from installing Base Trans-receive Stations (BTS) within 10 kms of the international border.
In a move aimed at strengthening mobile connectivity in areas close to the countrys international border, a licence condition that barred telecom service providers from installing Base Trans-receive Stations (BTS) within 10 kms of the international border has been relaxed.

This is subject to the condition that the base stations, wherever located, would be as far away from such border as feasible and made to operate in such a manner that the radio signals fade out when nearing or about to cross international border and become unusable within a reasonable distance across such border.

While the relaxation is for the entire border, the areas falling within 10 km of the Line of Control, Line of Actual Control and the international border running between Akhnoor in Jammu and Kashmir and Pathankot in Punjab have been notified as out-of-bounds for telecom service providers.

In addition to this sector, other out-of-bounds areas could also be notified from time-to-time by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, the sectoral regulator that offers the licences to the service providers. Additionally, the installation of base stations, cell sites or radio transmitters can be taken up by the service providers only after prior approval from local Army authorities about their specific location.

The Department of Telecommunication has admitted to some difficult areas where mobile signals are not available, primarily on account of the bar on service providers to set up base stations. On the other hand, according to a DoT official, several instances of the availability of mobile signals of foreign mobile networks inside Indian territories have been reported in the past. There are instances of availability of mobile signals of Pakistani mobile networks inside Indian territories in the border areas of Rajasthan such as Bakhasar, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Sriganganagar, Sri Karanpur, Raisingh Nagar, Anupgarh and Punjabs Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Ferozpur.