Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Government’s plan to revive BSNL will begin next month

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BSNL partners with Google to expand WiFi footprintNew Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) The government’s plan on reviving telecom company BSNL is expected to be in the public domain within a month and 4G spectrum will be allocated to the firm by the end of this year, BSNL Chairman and MD P.K. Purwar said on Monday.

“Telecom sector is also going through a challenging phase which all operators are finding very challenging financially because of the very competitive tariff. BSNL has legacy issues as well, particularly the large manpower base which we are addressing through a revival package. We expect in a couple of weeks it should be in the public domain or the revival plan should be in the public domain within a month,” Purwar told reporters here.

He was replying to a query on the revival of BSNL on the sidelines of an event to announce the company’s partnership with video entertainment app Yupp TV.

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The loss-making state-run company has submitted a proposal to the government in 2015 for 4G spectrum allocation and seeking approval for a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) package pending since 2009.

The package is expected to cost the government Rs 74,000 crore.

“We are a market leader. We are a Rs 20,000 crore plus revenue-generating company. Every single employee’s salary will be paid before Diwali,” Purwar said.

BSNL has a salary liability of Rs 1,200 crore which will be cleared through internal accruals, he said.

“We still have a monthly collection of over Rs 1,600 crore. We also keep paying Rs 400-500 crore every month for various components, operational expenses, maintenance, electricity, etcetera,” he added.

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Regarding the status of 4G spectrum allocation to the company, Purwar said: “We expect 4G spectrum should be allocated to BSNL by the end of this calendar year.”

BSNL has launched 4G services in some parts of the country by using the 3G spectrum that was allocated to it. Purwar said that it will take BSNL 12-15 months from the time spectrum is allocated to the company to expand its 4G network for full-fledged services.

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Purwar also said that once BSNL’s revival plan is approved by the government, the public sector undertaking will focus on transforming itself into a “data first” company from a voice service provider.

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