BSNL To Roll Out 60,000 Mobile Sites For 4G Services In Next 12-15 Months
Signage for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) is displayed atop the company’s head office in the Churchgate area of Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

BSNL To Roll Out 60,000 Mobile Sites For 4G Services In Next 12-15 Months

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State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. plans to roll out 60,000 mobile sites for 4G services across India for an estimated cost of up to Rs 7,200 crore, a top official of the company said on Wednesday.

The company has already installed 10,000 mobile sites for 4G service in select cities of Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh and plans to activate all of them within one-and-half month.

"In the first phase, we have plan to roll out 60,000 mobile sites for 4G services across India in the next 12-15 months. These sites will be rolled out in cities where penetration of 4G handset is high and BSNL has good customer base," BSNL Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar told PTI.

The government on Wednesday approved revival package for BSNL and MTNL, which includes raising of Rs 15,000 crore sovereign bonds to meet the immediate capital requirement of both the companies, 4G spectrum allocation worth Rs 20,140 crore, Rs 29,937 crore for VRS package and Rs 3,674 crore for goods and services tax that will be levied on allocation of radiowaves.

Also read: Cabinet Gives In-Principle Approval To Merge BSNL, MTNL

Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said that BSNL and MTNL get relief from the fund that they will realise from the sovereign guarantee bonds. "BSNL has the lowest debt in the industry. It can raise capital from banks to fund its capex requirement. However, it will be the decision of the BSNL board on how they want to do it," Prakash said.

The spectrum for 4G services will be allocated to both BSNL and MTNL within a month, he added. "We will float tender for 4G network within two months," Purwar said. MTNL operates only in Delhi and Mumbai, while BSNL operates in the rest of the area in the country.

BSNL has been the only other operator along with Reliance Jio that gained mobile subscribers between October 2018 till July 2019. According to the data published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, BSNL has fastest 3G network in the country.

The government has also decided to merge both the state-owned telecom firms. Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the process will take some time as MTNL is a listed entity and regulatory process need to be followed for delisting of shares.

Meanwhile, BSNL spokesperson Sanjay Sinha said the company has paid salaries to all its employees for the month of September. MTNL has plans to pay the salary for August on Oct. 24.

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