This is the second time in the week that a report relating to Aircel has surfaced which talks about another telecom operator approaching the already bankrupt company to recover their dues. This time it happens to be the government-run entity, BSNL who has approached the Communications Ministry in a plea to recover their services. Previously, two big private telecom operators- Idea Cellular and Vodafone India have also been seen preparing for a legal battle to recover their money from the debt-laden telco giant. BSNL seems to be also walking on the same lines and is probably planning to ensue a legal way to sort things out with Aircel. To accomplish this, the PSU has written a letter to the Department of Telecom in which they have described their woes.
Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava told the PTI regarding the same, confirming doubts by the Industry Experts, thus making sure that BSNL was indeed confident about taking the legal pathway to recover their dues from Aircel. Shrivastava said, "As regards to recovery of outstanding dues, BSNL could recover Rs 32 crore from bank guarantees (BG), and the balance will be recovered after reconciliation of some other BGs held by us or by BGs held by Government of India or through the legal process."
BSNL also made a statement saying that they had taken this step because previously Aircel had failed to reply to a formal e-mail query which was sent by the operator. It should be noted that some time ago Aircel declared bankruptcy under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code citing reasons like "troubled times" in the "highly financially stressed" industry.
BSNL made it clear in its statement that since the announcement of the news of Aircel going bankrupt, BSNL made quick moves to recover their due amounts through the obvious available ways of follow-ups and using the bank guarantees furnished by them. Regardless of these attempts, BSNL was only able to secure their Rs 32.2 crores from the total due amount of Rs 42 crores.
BSNL also had some additional insights to share on the same matter. They said citing the aforementioned statements that this was the reason that the PSU had to resort to legal pathways for recovering their dues "by way of setting off any excess amounts of the company that may be available with the Department of Telecommunications".
Aircel announced its Bankruptcy in February following its decline in revenue and profits after intense competition from other telcos. Also, the pressure of regulatory challenges, high level of debt over the operator caused the enormous "negative business and reputational impact" according to the debt-ridden company.
Shrivastava further told PTI that post the incident of Aircel stopping its services for the users BSNL was able to port in about 35 lakh customers. Another report by telecom regulator revealed that BSNL had 9.40% share of mobile services market as on January 31 and added 3.96 lakh new customers during the same month. Despite the impressive figures in the start of new year the corporation’s losses stood at Rs 4,793 crore during 2016-17 which happen to be somehow lower than Rs 4,859 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 8,235 crore in 2014-15.