Cash-strapped Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is all set to provide telecom services to Mumbai and Delhi. Until now, Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) catered its services in the two metropolitan cities.
State-owned BSNL will provide both wireless and fixed lines in Mumbai and Delhi on behalf of MTNL on a pilot basis for five to six months, starting from January 1, 2021, according to a report in Business Standard.
Also, the BSNL is expected to launch 4G services from the two metro cities. As per the daily, the PM's office may examine the proof of concept before the 4G is launched by the telco. Both the companies have been demanding spectrum to start 4G services to remain competitive in the market.
The proof of concept determines whether the equipment supplier is fit to deliver the gears. This process is expected to be completed by mid-2021 after which the tender for sourcing of the telecom equipment will be floated.
Last month, Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash said BSNL will also need around Rs 10,000 crore to roll out 4G services in phases and MTNL around Rs 1,100 crore.
According to the latest TRAI report, BSNL and MTNL had a market share of 10.65 per cent as of August 31. Whereas, private access service providers held 89.35 per cent market share in the same period.
The two PSU access service providers held 55.18 per cent of the wireline market share as of August 31.
BSNL stood as the top wired broadband service provider with 78.5 lakh subscribers in the country. In terms of wireless broadband services, BSNL added 159 lakh subscribers as of August 31. BSNL added 2.14 lakh mobile customers in August this year, while MTNL lost 6,081 customers.
The government is desperately looking to revive the beleaguered BSNL and MTNL. Last month, it approved Rs 68,751-crore revival package for the telcos, including 4G spectrum allocation and voluntary retirement scheme, as well as their merger.
BSNL has around 1.68 lakh employees and MTNL around 22,000. The total debt of both the companies stood at Rs 40,000 crore, of which half of the liability is MTNL's.