Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), a state-run Indian telecom operator, has been trying to roll out 4G for customers using homegrown tech. The technology is being provided by a Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) led consortium, including C-DoT (Centre for Development of Telematics) and Tejas Networks. With 4G, the government expects BSNL to capture a larger share in the wireless services market and turn profitable by FY27. Ashwini Vaishnaw, union telecom minister, during the recent ET NOW Global Business Summit 2024, said BSNL has achieved a significant turnaround and is now posting Rs 1500 crore profit at the EBITDA (earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation) level.
A report from TimesNow said that when questioned over the sentiments about the government investing in Vodafone Idea (Vi), a struggling Indian telecom operator, Vaishnaw declined to comment as Vi is a publicly listed company and any statement from him can affect the price of the stock. However, the minister did mention that the intention behind investing in Vi (referring to the government investment in the telco) was to ensure that there are at least three large players in the market to avoid any scenarios of duopoly.
Vaishnaw also said that BSNL was in a very bad state almost a decade back. However, it has been revived now. BSNL plans to launch 5G using the same equipment that it is using for 4G. With 4G and 5G of BSNL, Indian customers will have the opportunity to purchase services from another operator apart from the private options including Jio, Airtel and Vi.
The tech stack that has been developed locally has also garnered the interest of other developing nations that want a low-cost solution to providing network services to consumers instead of relying on large and expensive vendors that offer equipment globally.