Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been slowly moving with regard to the 4G rollout in India. The state-run telecom operator has been unable to make a significant impact on the lives of consumers because it hasn't moved ahead with time. However, 2023 could be the start of a new era for BSNL. The government is working in full force to uplift the business of BSNL. Two revival packages in three years also show the intent that the Modi govt has for the company. Ashwini Vaishnaw, union telecom minister, has said that BSNL would be able to launch 4G in early 2023 and then 5G in just about seven months. While the 5G rollout remains to be a sceptical notion, 4G is something that we could really see BSNL rolling out in 2023.
BSNL Could have a Game-Changing Next Year
4G hasn't even peaked yet in India. According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, 4G will peak in India at some point in 2024. So BSNL still has an opportunity to gain some users who want low-cost 4G services. While things are moving south for the consumers when the costs of mobile services are concerned, BSNL would still be comparatively more affordable than what you would have to pay the private telecom service providers (TSPs).
While the costs are still more affordable, the fact that BSNL doesn't have a widescale 4G presence is hurting its business and causing the effect of subscriber loss. The state-run telco already has a few 4G sites live across the nation. However, now, it will be using homegrown technology and will roll out 4G in a wider manner as fast as possible.
5G is still something that BSNL doesn't really need to move towards very fast until and unless it can find ways to monetise it via enterprise services. There is still a majority of the nation on 4G devices. BSNL needs to rebuild its brand by leveraging the ongoing demand for 4G mobile services at an affordable cost to consumers.
The government has reserved the spectrum for BSNL to roll out 4G. In addition, the relief package also addresses the 4G capex that BSNL is going to incur in the coming years. It is expected that BSNL could roll out PAN-India 4G in 18 to 24 months. The government is ensuring that this time things are executed in the right manner for the state-run telco.
BSNL would also benefit from the fact that one of the three private players is losing subscribers at regularly. For users who are content with 4G services, BSNL could be a top choice in 2023 as it would be way more affordable than the services of Jio and Airtel. However, the Quality of Service (QoS) from BSNL would also make a huge difference.