Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) lost over 1.5 million wireless users in Jan 2023, according to the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) data. The state-run telco has not been able to add users, just like Vodafone Idea (Vi), for several months. The issue with BSNL is the absence of high-speed 4G networks. While the world is looking to shift to 5G, consumers would at least want to stay connected to the 4G networks for several application needs. But currently, BSNL is primarily a 2G/3G player, and that is why it has a very small subscriber base compared to the telcos that have 4G/5G networks.
This would change very soon, though. BSNL is working with Indian tech giants such as Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) and Tejas Networks for rolling out of 4G. The state-run telco is going to use a 4G stack that is also upgradable to 5G. After losing close to 1.5 million wireless subscribers in Jan 2023, the overall wireless subscriber base of BSNL came down to 105.23 million, which is not very far from going below the 100 million mark.
Read More - BSNL 4G is Arriving Soon, but It May Not Make a Difference
BSNL's subscriber market share in the wireless mobile services market was 9.21% at the end of Jan 2023. Reliance Jio has the largest market share, with a 37.28% share. BSNL last time added new wireless users in Jan 2021. Since then, the telco has been losing subscribers. The state-run telco's average revenue per user (ARPU) is also very low compared to the ARPU of the private telcos. This is because BSNL offers its mobile services at a significant discount to what users need to pay to the private telcos.
BSNL needs to ramp up the process of rolling out 4G using indigenous technology and market its services aggressively to make a comeback in the competition.