The All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) has sought telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s intervention to help it roll out 4G services, much needed for the state-owned firm’s revival. According to the union, the tender route for procuring 4G equipment and rolling out the services will take a minimum of three years, by when other operators would have launched 5G services. This will result in BSNL being pushed out from the mobile market itself.
BSNL Wants Government to Approve 4G Upgradation Proposal
The union wants the minister to direct the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and board members from DoT to approve BSNL’s proposal to upgrade existing equipment to launch 4G services.
“This will be the only decision that can revive BSNL,” it said in a letter to the Minister of Communications.
The proposal to launch 4G by upgradation of the existing network was proposed by the BSNL management in December 2019. However, it is learnt that it was objected to by the board members from the government (DoT), the owner of the company, and was dumped, it alleged.
The BSNL management had once again proposed the upgradation of the existing equipment of about 18,500 base transceiver stations (BTS) supplied by Nokia, with an estimated cost of Rs 550 crore.
The management committee of the BSNL board approved it on July 1, 2021. However, the BSNL board (including two government nominees) did not approve it at the meeting on July 23, 2021, it said.
“The role of the DoT and its board members on this matter is really unfortunate and deplorable. We really fear that such actions will only help the private operators,” the letter said.
“When the Union Cabinet, under the leadership of the Prime Minister has taken the decision for BSNL's revival by launching 4G services, why the directors from the DoT, are sitting on it?,” AUAB wondered, adding this was derailing the entire revival package.
The AUAB is clearly frustrated from the regular interruptions made by the DoT and the government officials and it feels like the union is signalling that the government only wants to help the private operators.