The government had earlier said that Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) would roll out its 4G networks within 2 years, and hence it won’t be sold. However, looking at the way things are right now, it doesn’t feel like that will happen. The reason why the government is saying that the telco won’t be privatised makes sense, but the rollout of 4G networks might take a lot more time than 2 years.
Frankly, at particular moments, there is either a lot happening with BSNL in regards to the 4G rollout, or nothing’s happening at all. The telcos upgradation plans look like a mess right now. There’s no clarity on what’s happening and what will happen further. The employee union of the telco and some of the telecom bodies have shown their support, but the government isn’t helping BSNL a lot right now.
So what’s really happening?
BSNL 4G Upgradation Plans Hindered
The telco was recently hindered by the government nominees on the board who didn’t approve the 4G upgradation plans of around 13,533 2G/3G sites in southern and western zones. It is worth noting that BSNL had already received its nod from the National Security Council Secretariat for upgrading the concerned sites with Nokia equipment, and yet the government nominees on the board weren’t happy.
BSNL has some of the best-prepaid plans in the market right now. They are so good that if they were backed by a 4G network, it would rule a lot of market share in favour of the state-run telco. Frankly, it is a little sad to see the state-run company struggling to make its impact in the market and that too when it has been there forever.
The key for BSNL’s future is 4G networks with the ability to upgrade them to 5G with simple software rollouts. This will be very important for the telco’s survival, or else a few years down the line, if things go the same way they are going right now, BSNL will be sold off to a private entity like what is happening with Air India right now.