Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) will not be privatised. The state-run telecom company has been incurring losses for as long as one can remember. Even though MTNL has very limited operations left in India now, the government plans to keep running it. According to a PTI report, Devusinh Chauhan, Minister of State (MoS) for Communications, gave a written reply to the Rajya Sabha detailing the losses that the company has been making. For the year 2021-22, MTNL’s loss stood at Rs 2,617 crore.
Along with this, Chauhan clarified it for the Rajya Sabha that there are no plans to privatise MTNL for now. Both BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) and MTNL are running because of the relief package announced by the government for both companies in 2019. BSNL and MTNL were supposed to be merged entity.
However, the government decided to delay the merger because of the high debt of MTNL. BSNL’s financial situation wasn’t also good. Thus, the merger was deferred until the time MTNL’s debt situation doesn’t improve.
5G Spectrum Reserved for BSNL
In another reply to the Rajya Sabha, Chauhan wrote that the 5G spectrum for BSNL has been reserved already. The government is all set to conduct a 5G spectrum auction for the private telcos in India. Further, Chauhan said that testing of indigenous 4G equipment is at an advanced stage now, and the final delivery of the equipment will be made post the tests are completed.
BSNL is in desperate need of a 4G launch to turn things around for itself. Right now, be it call drops percentage or data speeds, BSNL’s networks are on the worst performing end of the graph. The state-run telco can benefit a lot from the 4G launch as the demand for 5G services isn’t expected to boom any time soon in the consumer space. Ericsson’s Mobility report had also said that 4G networks are going to be a major part of India’s telecom ecosystem for years to come from now.