Indian telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is planning to sell 10,000 of its towers for an estimated value of INR40 billion ($501.5 million).
The state-owned operator currently has 68,000 towers, but is looking to meet targets as part of the national monetization pipeline (NMP); a plan for the Indian government to monetize its infrastructure assets.
KPMG has been appointed to advise on the sale, according to The Economic Times, which reports that BSNL is only selling towers that have colocation agreements in place with other operators.
As part of the monetization scheme, BSNL needs to sell 13,567 of its towers by the financial year 2025.
BSNL isn't the only operator in the country that has looked to sell towers in recent times, with Vodafone Group entering talks to sell its remaining 21 percent stake in infrastructure company Indus Towers.
Last week the Indian government also moved to impose restrictions on non-Indian vendors playing a part in the build-out of 4G and 5G projects in the country. The government is aiming to reduce dependence on international providers.
Founded in 2000 but able to trace its history back to the 1800s through the country's state-owned telegraph network, BSNL operates fixed-line and mobile wireless Internet services across the country. The government has been looking to merge BSNL with the country's other state-owned telco, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), but the move has been repeatedly delayed.
During Vodafone Idea's troubles over debt last year, reports suggested the government was considering but ultimately rejected the idea of merging the struggling telco with the state-owned BSNL and/or MTNL.