BSNL should receive 5G spectrum on par with private telecom: parliamentary panel

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Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has completed its 4G trials in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the Center for the Development of Telematics (C-DoT). The telecom company was also working on building 5G NSA networks alongside 4G, a C-DoT official said.

According to a PTI report, the Standing Parliamentary Committee on Communications and Information Technologies, chaired by Lok member Sabha Shashi Tharoor, said BSNL should receive 5G spectrum on par with the country's private telecom companies.

BSNL 5G spectrum

Set aside MTNL debt in a special purpose vehicle and merge with BSNL

The parliamentary committee recommended the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to put aside Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) debt of Rs 26.5 billion in a special purpose vehicle and then merge its operations with BSNL.

P K Purwar, CMD of BSNL and MTNL has already stated that it would be impossible to save MTNL, which has a debt of Rs 26 crore on its back with an income of just Rs 1.3 crore.

The committee recommended that the department consider separating MTNL's assets and debt as it did with Air India and merging its operations with BSNL.

The panel also noted the loss of Rs 5,986 crore incurred by BSNL despite the revival package. To this, the Department of Transportation said the problem lay in the decline in landline revenue, the absence of 4G, and the lack of liquidity or money needed to carry out the necessary capital expenditures.

However, the DoT said the implementation of the Voluntary Retirement Program (VRS) was successful and resulted in a 50% reduction in the salary bill for BSNL, while a 90% reduction in the MTNL.

BSNL will greatly benefit from the launch of 4G, the panel said. The state-owned telecom operator is expected to place an equipment order in April and then try to roll out 4G services before August 15, 2022.

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