BSNL Should be Given 5G Spectrum at Par With Private Telcos: Parliamentary Panel

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Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has completed its 4G trials in collaboration with the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT). The telco was also working on building 5G NSA networks along with 4G, said a C-DoT official.

According to a PTI report, the parliamentary standing committee on communications and information technology, Chaired by Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor said BSNL should be allocated 5G spectrum at par with the private telcos of the country.

Shelve Out MTNL Debt into a Special Purpose Vehicle and Merge With BSNL

The parliamentary committee has recommended the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to shelve out Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited’s (MTNL) debt of Rs 26,500 crore into a special purpose vehicle and then merge its operations with BSNL.

P K Purwar, CMD of BSNL and MTNL has already said that it would be impossible to save MTNL which has a debt of Rs 26,000 crore on its shoulders with a revenue of Rs 1,300 crore only.

The committee recommended that the department should consider carving out the assets and debt of MTNL like what happened with Air India and merge its operations with BSNL.

The panel also noted the loss of Rs 5,986 crore that BSNL incurred despite the revival package. To this, the DoT said that the issue was with the decline in landline revenues, the absence of 4G, and not having the necessary liquidity or cash to make capital expenditures necessary.

However, the DoT said the implementation of the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) was successful and it led to a 50% reduction in the salary bill for BSNL while a 90% reduction in MTNL.

BSNL will greatly benefit from the rollout of 4G, the panel said. The state-run telecom operator is expected to make an order for equipment in April and then is trying to launch 4G services by August 15, 2022.

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