4G Spectrum Allocation to BSNL in Final Stages, Telco Asked to Submit Roadmap for Rollout by DoT

Both MTNL and BSNL will receive 4G spectrum from DoT simultaneously in the coming weeks

Highlights
  • Once BSNL submits the 4G rollout roadmap, DoT will likely allocate 4G spectrum to the telco
  • BSNL is already testing 4G services in various parts of the country

For years now, BSNL has been promising the launch of 4G services in the country, but the telco was short of spectrum. However, since the last six or eight months, the telco is actively engaging with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for the spectrum allocation and even the government is ready to allocate 4G airwaves to the government-owned PSU. With the lack of 4G services, BSNL is not able to compete with private telcos thanks to the lack of 4G services, but that’s going to change very soon. According to a report by IANS, the DoT is finalising plans for providing 5 Mhz of the 4G spectrum on 2100 Mhz band to BSNL in the coming days. At the same time, the department has asked the telco to submit the 4G rollout plan. The telco is already testing 4G services in various parts of the country. In Kerala, most of the cities are now covered with BSNL 4G.

DoT Asks BSNL to Submit 4G Service Rollout Plan of Action

As noted, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is finalising plans for allocating 5 Mhz of 4G spectrum to BSNL shortly on 2100 Mhz band. Ahead of allocations, the department has asked the PSU to submit a plan of action on 4G service roll-out preparedness including equipment procurement and the means to fund the network upgrade.

“We will allot BSNL some (5 Mhz) spectrum for 4G service and for that we have asked the company to submit a report of their 4G preparedness and how they plan to procure equipment for that. We also want to know the source of their funding for the capex arising out of the 4G network expansion so that the funds allocated through the spectrum could be best utilised,” a senior DoT official said to IANS.

The official added that the allocation of spectrum to BSNL has an opportunity cost as, had that been auctioned to private telcos, the government could have earned revenues. “But we have to support the PSUs. At the same time we will monitor their planning and equipment and pre-launch preparedness as well,” the official said.

BSNL and MTNL Will Get 4G Spectrum Simultaneously

The official also said that while both BSNL and MTNL would be allocated the 4G spectrum simultaneously, these queries have been sent to BSNL only and not to MTNL. As per the BSNL Board proposal, the cost of this spectrum is in the range of Rs 11,000 crore. In 2017, BSNL had sent a board proposal seeking 5MHz spectrum in the 2100 MHz band, which it wanted to partly fund by offering additional equity to the government.

The acquisition of additional spectrum in the 2100 MHz band is almost life-saving for BSNL for all-India rollout of 4G services through the Long Term Evolution route to match competition. BSNL and MTNL’s 4G spectrum allocation through the equity route and government funding has faced opposition from the Finance Ministry and Niti Aayog who see no return on this investment. The DoT monitoring and demand for an action plan report are aimed at ensuring that the funds are fully optimised to ensure revenue returns to the government.

Another source said the government might follow the IIM report while allocating 4G spectrum to BSNL. The report had proposed that 5 Mhz of spectrum in 2100 MHz band as 4G spectrum should be allocated to BSNL immediately but only for a limited 5-year period. This may require around Rs 1,875 crore of license fee payment for five years. This can be financed by either equity injection from the government or by borrowing the same with a guarantee from the government, given the financial condition of BSNL.

The report suggested that the government should pose conditions on BSNL while allocating the spectrum that BSNL should get into an aggressive tower sharing and leasing agreements with other telecom service providers to reduce the expenditure of rolling out 4G services by BSNL. Instead of Rs 11,000 crore asked for by BSNL to roll out 4G services, BSNL might be asked to re-examine the proposed capital expenditure with tower-sharing and managed-services model.

The total cost as per BSNL estimates would be Rs 9,600 crore. BSNL expects to pay half of this amount through equity route (by issuing additional shares to the government) if allowed, and the rest through revenue generated from the business.

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Nikhil Mumbai-PuneShaNadeemsaketlalit K (Mumbai) Recent comment authors
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Chetan
Chetan

READ THIS ::::Dot secretary while in its recent meeting with anupam srivastava (bsnl cmd) asked various option for resolution of bsnl massive 33k crore debt. One of the option was CLOSURE of psu. Anupam was presenting on disinvestment plans, employees salary burden and revival plan but aruna sundarajan asked him to include closure plan also along with comparison of disinvestment plan. Dot secretary also highlighted the view that in telecom bsnl recovery will be long and no certainty hence we can’t keep burning taxpayer money. Hence comparison of closure plan is necessary viz vis disinvestment or rival plan…. please present… Read more »

City
Bengaluru
Mobile Operator
Jio
karthik
karthik

If this happen then People will see Pre JIO era very soon. Revival of BSNL is not only need for its employees. But for People too.

xyz
xyz

It ain’t needed. BSNL is not a significant player to challenge private telcos, Private players can do whatever they want whether bsnl present or not. BSNL does not have network capacity. It is just waste of money to live in competitive industry. GoI should exit all sectors except the monopoly sector.

lalit K (Mumbai)
lalit K (Mumbai)

Not everyone can afford month recharges in India which private players are doing. There are people in India who still live on daily wages, some are fortunate to get monthly wages.

I personally think everyone has a right to choose whatever service provider they can afford , and not what these private players want to put things on our throats. Yes the network also matters , but not to everyone.

PS – my personal thoughts.

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
Nikhil Mumbai-Pune

Is it good or bad decision? From Jio point of view or Avoid point of view?

lalit K (Mumbai)
lalit K (Mumbai)

There is going to be a meeting with GOI for the revival plan & 4G spectrum to BSNL on the 15th FEB. One of the key agenda is to reduce the retirement age to 58 from 60 as most of the employees are over 55 years of age. that way they can save 7k cr in next five to six years. From what i have understood government is quite keen to save BSNL, but numbers always tell the truth. For MTNL – God save them. GOI is finding itself helpless, and the talk are their mobile business in Mumbai delhi… Read more »

saket
saket

BSNL has very bright chances of continuing as 4th operator ( but only after alloting 4G spectrum OR convert 100% 3G tower to 4G signal).

for MTNL- God will say. I cant answer , not possible to SAVE this dead animal.

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
Nikhil Mumbai-Pune

There won’t be monopoly.

Nadeem
Nadeem

Meanwhile airtel started to deploy 4g on 2100mhz here,it seems to be still in testing as i latched to it for couple of minutes and i took the speedtest and the speed was poor 1.67 dl and 4.8 ul,they still have 3g running as well.

City
Srinagar,J&K
Mobile Operator
Airtel
DTH
Disht Tv
Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
Nikhil Mumbai-Pune

They are testing here in Mumbai but yet to roll out. In Navi Mumbai testing is in full fledge but in Mumbai most of the sites are actually on HSPA+ still.

Nadeem
Nadeem

It seems to have been rolled out here on specific sites because while using android mobile i latched to it for sometime and than back to band 40 as i am not far away from the tower also the site still has hspa+(DC) intact and working and band 3,1 and 40 and 2g on 900mhz also working

Nikhil Mumbai-Pune
Nikhil Mumbai-Pune

What about 900Mhz LTE?

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