Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) lost subscribers in the last 3 years because of no 4G. This was said by Devusinh Chauhan, minister of state for communications. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Chauhan said because of "stiff competition" in the industry and a lack of 4G, BSNL and MTNL lost subscribers in the past three years. As per a PTI report, Chauhan said that BSNL has issued a purchase order for one lakh sites to roll out 4G in the next 18 to 24 months.
BSNL will be taking the help of Indian company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to roll out 4G. TCS will be providing BSNL with a homegrown technology stack to roll out 4G. Further, the sites where this 4G is rolled out can also be upgraded to 5G with a simple software push. It is not just in the last 3 years, but for several more years than that, BSNL and MTNL have been losing subscribers.
The telcos have not just seen a dip in numbers for wireless subscribers but also wireline subscribers. BSNL once used to be the top-ranked wireline service provider in India, but now it stands at the third rank. The first rank has been taken by Reliance Jio, and the second rank by Bharti Airtel. BSNL has a lot of catching up to do, especially with the 4G rollout. Where the private telcos are reaching their goals of PAN-India 5G rollout, BSNL is yet to start depl0ying homegrown 4G.
Currently, BSNL is field testing the equipment in some of the sites in Punjab. A soft launch has already happened in the state, but a more wide launch would come after the feedback from these test sites is accumulated. The state-run telco has received several relief packages in the last 4 years.