Assets of both the state-owned telecom operators including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) are now at sale. According to a PTI report, the total value of the assets is Rs 970 crore. The assets of BSNL and MTNL that we are talking about includes land and buildings in Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bhavnagar and Mumbai.
According to the documents uploaded on the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) website, BSNL assets worth Rs 660 crore and MTNL assets worth Rs 310 crore are on sale.
First Stage of Assets Monetisation for BSNL, MTNL
P K Purwar, CMD, BSNL, said this is the first stage of assets monetisation for BSNL and MTNL. Purwar said that the entire process has been planned to complete within one and a half months.
MTNL has 20 flats in Oshiwara which have been put up for sale. The e-auction is set to take place on December 14 for MTNL assets. Note that asset monetisation was a key part of the revival package announced by the government in 2019 for BSNL and MTNL.
This is a great thing for the telcos. BSNL can certainly use the cash from the monetisation process to roll out 4G networks faster. The state-run telco had raised concerns about not having enough cash flow to support the capex required for the 4G rollout.
However, BSNL will still take a lot of time from now to roll out 4G services. This is because there have been slowdowns and issues in the proof of concept (PoC) process. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) hasn’t completely followed the rules laid out in the Express of Interest (EoI) conditions. Further, the telco was denied the opportunity to upgrade 2G and 3G sites to 4G in southern and western India. Had it been approved, BSNL would have upgraded over 13,533 sites to 4G.