NEW DELHI: Union Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Friday told a section of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) employees to focus on the existing subscriber base and the government will continue to stand firm through the revival roadmap.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji has given you a Rs 1.64 lakh crore which is a very big package. Now the big responsibility is on us to ensure that we make BSNL very strong. I am with you rock solid throughout this journey . The government is completely with you,” Vaishnaw told the telco’s staff at the Villivakkam stock exchange in Chennai.
In July this year, the Center sanctioned a Rs 1.64 lakh crore package to revive state-run telecom company BSNL to make it competitive in the strategic sector.
“Now we have to be with our customers. The customer is the king. Whatever problems the customers face, they should become our problem and solve them immediately. Focus on your customers,” Vaishnaw said.
Currently, BSNL has close to 9.92% market pie compared to private sector rivals – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea – and has a lion’s share of the 1.20 billion customers.
At the end of April 30, 2022, the private telecom service providers had 89.79% market share of the wireless subscribers, while BSNL and MTNL, the two public sector telecom companies, had a market share of only 10.21%, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India ( Trai) statistics.
The minister also said that a new technology (4G) would be implemented on the basis of Make in India and Design in India soon and the BSNL workforce should give full attention to its customer base.
The revival package also included Rs 44,993 crore for the administrative allocation of 4G airwaves.
Earlier, Vaishnaw asked the officials to start deploying a fifth generation or 5G network in line with the ambitious fourth generation (4G) network rollout and the telco would have 20 million 4G and 5G customers.
According to him, the Center for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), a state-owned telecommunications R&D company, has made progress in the 5G non-standalone (NSA) core network expected to be ready by the end of August , and the home-made core equipment can be available for deployment by 2023. Early this year, BSNL awarded a Rs 550 crore contract to TCS for setting up 6,000 sites as part of the public sector’s plans to deploy more than 1 lakh sites across the country to roll out long-awaited commercial 4G network services.
The Mumbai-based system integrator TCS-backed consortium has been jointly shortlisted to supply radio and core network equipment to BSNL.
Earlier this month, in a warning to top officials of BSNL, the minister asked them to either perform or perish, adding, “You (employees of BSNL) are working in a competitive industry and only your work can save you. In the next 24 months, we will see results.”
In October 2019, as part of the initial stimulus package, the government approved Rs 69,000 crore primarily for Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS).