The Indian Telecom Sector has witnessed phenomenal growth and mobile telephony in particular has revolutionized in the country over the past decade. Providing telephone coverage across the country has been one of DoT’s top property areas. Out of 921 million connections, 891 million are wireless, as on May 2013. The popularity of cell phone and wireless communication devices has resulted in a proliferation of cell towers across the country.
Fixation of standards for exposure limits of radio frequency field emissions from mobile base stations, monitoring their compliance, all radiation related technical issues, issues of Access Service License/Infrastructure Provider registration and SACFA clearance for frequency allocation at any location are dealt with by DoT.
India has adopted strict limit for radiation from Base Transceiver Station (BTS), as below, which is 1/10th of the International Norms (ICNIRP):
Frequency in MHz
Power density limit
2100 and above
Broad guidelines for issue of clearance for installation of mobile phone towers were issued on 23.08.2012 and later modified on 26.03.2013. Subsequently, on the basis of feedback received after deliberations made with the state government officials and various stake holders on 16.04.2013 and holding further consultations thereafter, the guidelines have been finalized for the state governments.
Documents to be submitted by Telecom Service Providers/Infrastructure Providers for obtaining clearance from Local Bodies/State Governments for installation of mobile towers:
Copy of relevant License/Infrastructure Provider Registration Certificate from Department of Telecommunication.
Name of Service/Infrastructure Provider
Copy of SACFA clearance/copy of SACFA application for the said location submitted to WPC wing of DoT with registration number as WPC acknowledgement along with undertaking that in case of any objection/rejection, TSPs/IPs will take corrective actions/remove the tower.
Copy of structural stability certificate for ground based tower. In case of roof top BTS towers, structural stability certificate for the building and tower based on written approvals of any authorized Structural Engineer of State/Local Bodies/Central Building Research Institute (CBRI), Roorkee/IIT/NIT or any other agency authorized by local body.
Copy of the type test certificate issued by Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to the manufacturers of the Diesel Generator (DG) Sets.
Copy of Clearance from Fire Safety Department only in case for high rise buildings where Fire Clearance is mandatory.
For forest protected areas, the copy of clearance from State Environment & Forest Department, if applicable.
The local bodies may also seek submission of the copy of No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Building Owner/Entities having roof top rights or roof top tenants in case of roof based tower / land owner in case of ground based tower/land owner in case of ground based tower, as the case may be. As per their rules in force, State Governments, at their discretion, may seek fresh NOC at the time of renewal of site (tenancy) contract for mobile tower.
Acknowledgement receipt issued by TERM Cells (DoT) of the self-certificate submitted by Telecom Service Provider/Infrastructure Provider in respect of mobile tower/BTS (ground based/roof top/pole/wall mounted) in the format as prescribed by TEC, DoT, establishing/certifying that all General Public areas around the tower will be within safe EMR exposure limit as per peak traffic measurement after the antennae starts radiating.
Action by State Government/Local Body
Nominal one time Administrative Fee as may be decided by the State Government to recover its costs on the issue of permission for installation of tower.
Single Window Clearance may be provided in a time bound manner to telecom service provider/infrastructure provider by the Local Body/State Government. This will ensure issuance of faster clearance.
Telecom Towers have been given infrastructure status by Government of India vide gazette notification no 81 dated 28.03.2012. All benefits, as applicable to infrastructure industry, should be extended. Electricity Connection may be provided to BTS site on priority.
Telecom installations are lifeline installations and a critical infrastructure in mobile communication. In order to avoid disruption in mobile communication, an essential service, sealing of BTS towers/disconnection of electricity may not be resorted to without the consent of the respective TERM Cell of DoT in respect of the EMF related issues.