Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) have received approval to get a 5G spectrum on the same principles followed for 4G, according to Devusinh Chauhan, Minister of State for Communications.
Further, Chauhan noted the revival plan that was announced by the government back on October 23, 2019.
Under the revival measures, the government offered a VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) to the BSNL/MTNL employees aged 50 and above, along with administrative allotment of 4G spectrum, monetization of non-core and core assets for reducing debt, meeting capex and other requirements.
Both the government-owned telcos will launch 4G and 5G network services based on techno-commercial considerations, said Chauhan.
BSNL has already completed core network trials with the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT).
Many officials aware of the developments have said that BSNL will launch its 4G network service in 2022. Some have even said August 15 is the date for BSNL’s 4G launch. But how much of it is true will only be known in due time.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology had suggested that MTNL’s debt should be carved out into a special purpose vehicle (SPV), and then its operations should be merged with BSNL.
But BSNL’s employee union had opposed this move saying that BSNL is already in a tough situation financially and the merger with MTNL will only make things worse for the telco.
MTNL’s debt currently stands at Rs 26,000 crore and since the company is not making enough money, it will be likely that it will never be able to pay off the debt on its own.
For the unaware, BSNL is already running the mobile business of MTNL in Mumbai and Delhi since 2021.
But a complete merger of both the companies has been suggested now.