Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is yet to renew its 2G spectrum license that expired in February, 2020, New Indian Express said in a report citing an unnamed BSNL official. “Sources” have told the publication that “talks are going on” between BSNL and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) over the 2G spectrum license renewal for two more years. It has been recently reported that a DoT committee had recommended that BSNL should not purchase 2G equipment even for replacement.
The BSNL official told the publication that the operator is in the “final stages of discussion” and that the DoT is likely to give its nod to BSNL for its 2G license renewal. Crucially, the BSNL official also said to have highlighted that it is not possible for the operator to do away with 2G services.
According to a report released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in late September, the total wireless data usage in India increased to 22,854,131TB during the quarter ending March, 2020. The Trai report highlights that 2G data usage during the quarter was 153,716TB translating to 0.76% of the total wireless data usage. In comparison, the Trai report highlighted that 4G users accounted for 95.83% of the total wireless data usage.
According to the reports, the DoT committee in its recommendations have said that the operator should emulate countries like Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Norway in bidding farewell to 2G services.
It has to be noted that the government of India in October 2019, announced that BSNL would receive 4G spectrum as part of the revival package that also included Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS). While multiple elements of BSNL revival package has been implemented, the state-run operator is said to have not received its 4G spectrum.
The Telecom Subscription Data as on July 31, 2020, highlights that BSNL has 10.31% market share in the country with the operator gaining 388,326 users in July.