Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Vodafone Idea (Vi), two of the struggling telecom operators, can make a comeback in India if they are able to move ahead aggressively with 4G. Solving core customer problems fast is the best to ensure that the business grows exponentially. In India, users are desperately looking for a uniform and high-speed 4G experience. Due to multiple factors, none of the telcos have consistently delivered a seamless 4G experience to their users. This is the gap that Vodafone Idea and BSNL can fill in the market. But it is easier said than done. Neither of the telcos has the kind of money for going on the attack with their 4G. BSNL, in fact, doesn’t even have live 4G networks across the country. The state-run telco is working to change that.
Where is BSNL 4G and When It Will Launch?
BSNL is expected to complete the 4G trials with the Centre of Development of Telematics (C-DoT) and the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) before the end of February 2022. This means that BSNL’s 4G should arrive within 2022.
The IT minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw, had said that BSNL will be making the order for 4G equipment by April this year and pointed out that by August or September, its 4G networks will start rolling out. This all depends on the timely finishing of the 4G trials, which have already been delayed by several months.
Vodafone Idea 4G Needs Fuel
While Vodafone Idea is present almost everywhere across the nation with its 4G networks, the telco’s services aren’t at par with what Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel can deliver. This is majorly because of the low capex levels of the telco. It has been unable to raise funds from the outside market and investors. Even the company promoters have not provided Vodafone Idea with any sort of monetary help despite the government’s steps to offer relief measures to the industry.
The telco’s 4G networks lack coverage severely when compared to Jio and Airtel’s networks. At the same time, Vi sells its prepaid plans at the industry high figures to keep its average revenue per user (ARPU) stable, but due to the lack of a good experience, many users are leaving the network of the telco. The prepaid tariff hike only added to increase the subscriber churn rate.
So How Can Vi and BSNL Turn Things Around?
For BSNL, the clear way is to roll out 4G as fast as possible. It would help the state-run telco in adding new subscribers. Vodafone Idea needs to raise funds and keep increasing capex levels. Even if Vi doesn’t go too aggressive with 5G, it won’t create a problem for the telco. All that it should focus on right now is working to ensure that its 4G networks improve as fast as possible.