The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) will soon be on the task of seeking permission from the cabinet for launching 4G services under Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Notably, BSNL, the government led telco has been lagging behind the other private telcos like Reliance Jio and Idea Cellular for launching 4G services, thus making a dent in its revenue. To facilitate this launch of 4G services, the state-owned telco has asked for an equity infusion of Rs 6,652 crore.
BSNL Ready to Launch 4G After Nod From Cabinet
Telecom Secretary, Aruna Sundararajan told ET “BSNL has already asked for 4G services. We are soon moving a Cabinet note for the spectrum requirement of the telco.” To recall, BSNL had submitted a detailed report in 2017 for acquiring spectrum worth about Rs 13,885 crore. To accomplish this, the state-owned telco sought Rs 6,652 crore as equity infusion while it planned to pay the rest amount in 16 annual instalments.
With the approval of the cabinet, the state-owned telco will be able to launch high-speed data or Long-Term Evolution (LTE) services on the 2,100MHz band. Notably, BSNL already uses the band for relaying its 3G services as well. BSNL has also said that by launching 4G services on additional five units of the 2,100MHz band, the telco will provide airwaves utilisation by offering spectrum contiguity.
MTNL Being Assisted by Deloitte for Revival
In a related development, the government is also reviewing the revival package for Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL). The government-led telco which operates only in Mumbai and Delhi has been making continuous losses for quite some years now. Now with Deloitte helping the telco to figure out a path for revival, the government is expected to breathe back some life into the company. The highest decision-making body in the telecom sector, the Telecom Commission led by Aruna Sundararajan also confirmed that the centre is reviewing the revival package for MTNL.
NDCP Under Consideration of Cabinet
Another development which is already underway, as affirmed by Aruna Sundararajan is about the National Digital Communication Policy (NDCP) 2018, which is also being considered by the Cabinet. Sundararajan said, “The NDCP-2018 recommendations are already with the Cabinet, and we are expecting a go-ahead anytime soon.”
Notably, this is the policy which is expected to ease the conditions for telcos by rationalising pricing and levies. Additionally, the policy will also act in the direction of raking in some investment amounting to Rs 7 lakh crore which would further create 4 million new job opportunities in the sector. This policy is expected to bring in some relief to the industry which remains buried under the pressure of debt.