Vowing to revive state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL), Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said the government will provide full support to the state-owned telecom giant to help regain its past glory.
BSNL, which was formed in 2000, was in the pink of financial health but lost to competition because of inadequate investment in infrastructure expansion that ought to have been provided during past few years, he told Rajya Sabha.
"Government is committed to the revival of BSNL...I want to assure the House that BSNL will not be allowed to die," he said during Question Hour.
The firm's market share has dipped from 15.66 per cent as on March 31, 2010 to 11.70 as on May 31, 2014.
Prasad said BSNL slipped because of inadequate investment in infrastructure expansion in recent years leading to delay in expansion of mobile network and the company was also made to pay market rate (of Rs 18,500.38 crore) for both 3G and broadband wireless access (BWA) spectrum.
High employee cost and poor perception of quality of service provided by BSNL too impacted profitability, he said.
"Government has taken different measures such as waiver of Rs 1,411 crore government loan to BSNL and return of Rs 6,724.51 crore for surrendering the BWA spectrum," he said. Besides, infrastructure is being upgraded. BSNL is migrating from Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to Next Generation Network (NGN) to provide enhanced value added services like personalised ring back tone, broadband, multi media video conferencing, Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services and fixed-mobile service convergence.
BSNL is expanding its mobile network across the country through installation of 15 million lines at a cost of Rs 4,804 crore, the minister said, adding augmentation of network elements and expansion of broadband network has been planned to cater to the traffic growth.
On allegations that BSNL employees were conniving with private operators to sabotage the company, Prasad said he is personally monitoring performance of BSNL and will take action if specific instances are brought to his notice.