Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will put an end to its declining subscriber base by October or November 2023, said telecom minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in an announcement made on Wednesday.
The minister, while announcing the third relief package worth Rs 89,047 crore, emphasised that BSNL will soon be in a position to provide stiff competition to private telecom operators in the coming year, according to a New India Express report. Vaishnaw stated, "Once the rollout of 4G and 5G takes place, the company will stop losing its subscribers."
Challenges Faced by BSNL
BSNL, currently facing challenges in maintaining its subscriber count, has been consistently losing customers to private telecom operators.
According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), BSNL held a mere 9.27 percent market share in the mobile segment as of March 2023, with 103.68 million subscribers. In stark contrast, its competitors Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea enjoyed a combined market share of 90.73 percent.
BSNL witnessed a loss of over 50,000 subscribers in March 2023 alone. The situation is no different in the wireline segment, where BSNL ranks third with a market share of 25 percent as of March 2023.
The report quoted Industry experts who attribute BSNL's struggle to the lack of a 4G network. However, the minister disclosed that BSNL has commenced the deployment of a 4G network with 200 sites, with plans to launch an average of 200 sites per day after a three-month trial period.
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Positive Growth in Subscribers
The report quoted Vaishnaw highlighting BSNL's efforts by stating, "BSNL is providing more than 1 lakh new connections every month. And the total home fibre subscriber base of BSNL in May 2023 is 30.88 Lakh."
Furthermore, BSNL has taken over the mobile service operations of its debt-ridden sister concern, MTNL, in Delhi and Mumbai. The company is set to introduce its 4G and 5G services in these regions within the next year.
The report also quoted Chairman and Managing Director of BSNL, PK Purwar, who expressed confidence in BSNL's plans and stated that the rollout of 4G and 5G services in Delhi and Mumbai will be available within a year.
With the aim of revitalising its operations, BSNL is poised to regain its subscriber base, compete fiercely with private telecom operators, and reclaim its position in the telecom industry.