It is well known that the state-led telecom operator, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been financially strained for quite some time now. The telecom operator has been facing a cash crunch, has been struggling to pay salaries to its employees and is also under massive debt. In a new interview conducted by ET Telecom, BSNL Chairman PK Purwar has said that the telco will require 4G airwaves to articulate its 4G network and provide better services to the subscribers which will improve the telco’s situation. He also added that the telecom operator is looking to cut the workforce in half when the government approves the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS). It is also on the task of clearing partner dues, which have been pending since long.
Potential Revenue from BSNL Land Assets Calculated to be Rs 1,000 Crores
To the question of how BSNL is managing to rake in additional revenue from various sources, Purwar highlighted that the company is monetising the land assets by leasing and renting. By means of rental, BSNL is expecting to bring in around Rs 200 crore of revenue. Purwar added that this number could be upped to Rs 1,000 crore by the end of the year, meaning that BSNL could an additional Rs 1,000 crore to its annual revenue by renting and leasing. The second way BSNL is currently monetising its assets is by getting tenants for its towers. The company currently has 68,000 towers, out of which, 13,000 to 14,000 have been given to others. The company said that it is looking to increase the tenancy of these towers to increase the revenue. The chairman also added that the telco would look forward to providing value-based services to retain loyal customers.
Energy Consumption Becomes Major Expense for BSNL
BSNL Chairman, PK Purwar also remarked that revenue remains the first priority of BSNL right now, and the second priority is to manage operational expenses. He added that there are a lot of expenses that can be optimised by policy decisions. There is also the consideration of how the company can better use its existing workforce and reduce outsourced operations. Power remains another major expense for BSNL, which bills around Rs 2,700 crore for the company annually. The chairman said that the company would look forward to reducing power consumption by 15% this year.
BSNL Revival Package in the Talks
Talking about the help from the government, the BSNL chairman said that the government is helping BSNL in every way possible and is also working on the revival package. 4G spectrum remains one of the items on the table for the revival package, and on that topic, the official said that because of the lack of proper 4G spectrum, BSNL is losing its competitive advantage, given that now 50% of the revenue is coming from data services. VRS is another way by which BSNL will be cutting its workforce short by 60,000 to 70,000 employees. Lastly, Purwar also noted that vendor payments of Rs 1,100 crores has been approved for clearing the liabilities. The chairman also said that he expects the government to approve the credit of Rs 3,300 crores in the next ten days.