BSNL 4G, What’s So Interesting About it

Private telcos have the money to go and invest in networks in rural regions, but they won't do that. It isn't a favourable move from the perspective of returns, and it is definitely something that the investors would not back. Then comes BSNL. Not backed by a private institution, it doesn't really have to give tough answers to anyone.

Published by
Tanay Singh Thakur


Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is not exactly an underdog. It has played in the big leagues for a long time now, and there was a time when it was a formidable force in the market. Right now, if you ask me, which is the most interesting telecom player in the market, I would say BSNL. Not because it is using homegrown technology to launch 4G and possibly 5G in the future but because of how it can uproot the entire structure of the industry.

It isn’t the results that make for an interesting story, but the key lies in the narration of it. BSNL is a step away from becoming a great storyteller. The state-run telecom company, floating on the back of the Rs 1.64 lakh crore revival package, can be the messiah for the people living in rural India. It has the power to change the Indian economy to an extent that’s unimaginable.

Private telcos have the money to go and invest in networks in rural regions, but they won’t do that. It isn’t a favourable move from the perspective of returns, and it is definitely something that the investors would not back. Then comes BSNL. Not backed by a private institution, it doesn’t really have to give tough answers to anyone. Well, of course, there’s the government, and lately, the IT and telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has been pretty strict about improving the work culture at BSNL.

But honestly, who is going to question BSNL like a private company would be questioned, even if it makes investments that wouldn’t really give huge returns in the short term and may potentially even make the company bleed money? That’s what makes BSNL’s 4G so interesting. It doesn’t matter whether it comes two years down the line or the next month, deep down, whether BSNL makes money off of it or not doesn’t matter. The telco’s not going to be privatised, and it’s not going to shut.

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Its 4G has been planned to be rolled out in areas where high-speed broadband is inaccessible. This would definitely put BSNL in the hearts of rural India. The state-run telco already is benefiting from the merger with BBNL (Bharat Broadband Nigam Limited). It now has direct access to all the investments that BBNL has made in the fibre infrastructure across India for years.

But there’s a long way to go for BSNL to really turn profitable. Yes, the government says it would be profitable by FY27, and it very well could be the reality. However, what I keep on wondering nowadays is who would care even if it isn’t? It would be unfair to say that BSNL doesn’t have dedicated employees working to lift the company up because there could be people who are doing that. Regardless, no one cares, and no one wants to question these people.

Coming back to the original point. What’s so interesting about BSNL’s 4G? The interesting part is that it doesn’t have to really make a deep impact to push the government to announce another relief package for the state-run telco. As I said, BSNL isn’t going to shut shop, and the government isn’t going to privatise it.

Tanay Singh Thakur

Tanay is someone with whom you can chill and talk about technology and life. A fitness enthusiast and cricketer, he loves to read and write.

Published by
Tanay Singh Thakur

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