Will BSNL Ever Make a Comeback

The government has shown its intent to revive the operator. But it won't be possible without the launch of 4G networks. Because of issues in procuring equipment, the BSNL 4G launch has been pushed ahead to 2023.

Highlights

  • BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) wants to make a comeback, and the only way it would be able to do that is if it can launch 4G fast and then move to 5G fast.
  • There needs to be more competition as even Vodafone Idea (Vi) isn't proving to be a big difference maker in front of Jio and Airtel. 
  • It is hard to say if BSNL will ever make a comeback.

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BSNL

BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) wants to make a comeback, and the only way it would be able to do that is if it can launch 4G fast and then move to 5G fast. But the way things have progressed over the last few years, it seems like a distant reality. The state-run telecom operator has a lot of dues and doesn't have the funds to expand fast. While the relief package took care of a lot of problems that BSNL is facing, the problems haven't gone away; they have simply been minimised temporarily. With the relief package, the government is trying to treat the symptoms, but the actual problem still pertains.

BSNL needs to start correcting its fundamentals and build a strong foundation for business with 4G. The telco must ensure to do things in a timely manner going forward. Every time there's a delay with BSNL's operations, the private operators go an extra mile forward. BSNL has a lot of catching up to do.

Govt's Intent with BSNL

The government has shown its intent to revive the operator. But it won't be possible without the launch of 4G networks. Because of issues in procuring equipment, the BSNL 4G launch has been pushed ahead to 2023. This is not good for the telco as well as for the Indian telecom sector. There needs to be more competition as even Vodafone Idea (Vi) isn't proving to be a big difference maker in front of Jio and Airtel.

With a fast 4G launch and 5G upgradation, BSNL would solve a lot of its problems. The organisational structure of the telco must also improve and bring efficiencies into place. Ashwini Vaishnaw, the IT and telecom minister, has warned the employees by telling them that those who work loosely will be sent home packing with the VRS (voluntary retirement scheme).

It is hard to say if BSNL will ever make a comeback. The chances of that happening seem very slim right now. Unless things start changing fast inside and outside (networks), BSNL will be stuck in the position it is right now.

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