Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) right now has the least mobile subscribers in the country. It makes perfect sense because BSNL doesn't offer 4G network services like the private operators. But, the state-run telecom operator has been working with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to roll out 4G via homegrown technology. After that, BSNL would also target a homegrown 5G network rollout. According to a BusinessStandard report, Ashwini Vaishnaw, telecom minister, has asked BSNL to reach the 20 crores or 200 million subscribers mark with homegrown 4G and 5G. But this would mean that BSNL would have to be so good and a compelling option that consumers would want to leave the private telecom operators and shift to BSNL.
BSNL Customers as on May 31, 2022
According to the TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) report, BSNL had a total of 112.85 million users at the end of May 2022. Out of these, only 58.85 million users were active. In terms of percentages, BSNL had a 9.85% subscriber market share in the wireless subscribers category. So BSNL would have to take its market share somewhere around 20% to reach the 200 million user mark. In addition, the telco would have to work on its active user subscriber base as well. Even if it reaches 200 million users, but its total active subscriber base is under or just about 100 million, it wouldn't make a lot of difference in the revenues of the telco.
But BSNL does have an advantage in the marketing angle with 4G as it would be the only telecom operator in the country using homegrown technology for 4G services. All the private telcos have worked with foreign vendors, including the Chinese company Huawei.
Vaishnaw has also told the senior management of BSNL that employees who don't work will be removed from the company via forced retirement. It is high time that BSNL takes advantage of the relief package and gets going to become profitable.