Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) hasn’t been performing financially well for years now. It is not something that the market or the government doesn’t know. However, the recent action or rather inaction from BSNL just even makes it clearer for the country to understand its dire situation. According to a TNN report, the state-run telecom operator has been unable to pay off the salaries of its employees for the month of May 2021. The employees were due to receive their salaries from the company of May in June. But June is about to end and no salary has been credited into the accounts of the employees.
BSNL’s Delay in 4G Launch Causing Financial Troubles
BSNL is behind other telecom operators of the country quite significantly. One can map out several reasons for why they wouldn’t want to get a mobile network connection from BSNL and absolutely no reason as to why they should. The elephant in the room that BSNL hasn’t been able to address yet is the rollout of 4G networks.
The telco has been working hard to ensure that its 4G rollout process is as quick as possible. But even if BSNL manages everything in time, the latest that it can bring live 4G networks in the country is in late 2022.
BSNL has already communicated with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) about how desperately it needs live 4G networks in the country to survive. It is interesting to note that at a time when the telco doesn’t have money to pay off existing employees, it has been considering hiring back the employees who left under the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) as consultants.
It is hard to imagine how the telco would generate the cash flow to pay the existing employees and the re-hired employees at the same time. Regardless, one thing is for sure, BSNL wouldn’t be able to survive without two things - a) government support, and b) 4G networks.
There’s no way BSNL can directly invest in 5G SA networks. It will need to build a base of 4G networks with the capability of shifting to 5G as soon as possible with simple upgrades. At the same time, the government really needs to help BSNL with its plans and also provide financial assistance. Without these two coming in at the same time, there’s just sorrow for the telco ahead.