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    BSNL will launch 4g services in 6 months: Chairman Pravin Kumar Purwar

    Synopsis

    After the cabinet approved a relief package last month, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has started on an ambitious revival programme. Chairman Pravin Kumar Purwar said BSNL is expected to launch 4G services in six months and is spending Rs 12,000 crore on the next-generation network.

    BSNL Chairman Pravin Kumar Purwar.
    Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has started on an ambitious revival programme after the cabinet approved a relief package last month. The state-controlled telco’s 36,000 employees have opted for voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), its chairman, Pravin Kumar Purwar, told ET Telecom in an interview. He said BSNL is expected to launch 4G services in six months, and is spending Rs 12,000 crore on the next generation network. Edited excerpts:

    What are the challenges in the revival package?
    The government has given a very good package. The management of BSNL and the officers will ultimately have to deliver the services with respect to the expectation of customers. Enablement of 4G services is a vital aspect, since as a telecom carrier a bouquet of high-speed data services were not provided.

    By when is 4G spectrum expected to be allocated?
    It will take six months to launch the service. We are looking at upgrading the existing equipment, and identifying locations to make services available at the earliest. We are also going for a tendering process, as it would take a longer time.

    How much will BSNL spend on 4G network?
    The 4G spend is expected to come to around Rs 12,000 crore over a period of 24 months.

    How many people have opted for VRS till now?
    36,000 employees have opted for VRS, as of now. We are expecting 70,000-80,000 individuals to take the scheme. We are also expecting more than 3,000 group A officers to opt for VRS.

    Vendors say that due to BSNL’s dues, jobs of 100,000 employees are at stake? Your view on it?
    There are a few challenges. We expect that once the revival package starts getting implemented, we will have reasonable amount of cash to meet our expenses. BSNL was not able to make timely payment and it’s only a thing of delayed payment. We expect that in the next 2-3 months, things will start moving.

    How many land parcels have been identified so far as a part of assets monetisation drive?
    We have identified 14 high-value land parcels, worth about Rs 8,000 crore, which can be easily monetised as part of a phased approach. In addition, we are getting all support from the government to overcome existing challenges.
    (Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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    29 Comments on this Story

    St Mumbai321 days ago
    BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme - 2019: Amount of ex-gratia for any eligible employee will be equal to 35 days salary for each completed year of service and 25 days salary for every year of service left until superannuation.
    All regular and permanent employees of 50 years and above as on January 31, 2020" are eligible to opt for the scheme.
    The rescue package approved by the government includes funding of ₹ 17,160 crore VRS and another ₹12,768 crore towards retirement liability.
    St Mumbai321 days ago
    BSNL may have identified 14 “high-value” land parcels, which they can be easily monetised, but the valuation may be way off the mark. What was worth about ₹8,000 crore in the pre-demonetisation era could probably only fetch two-thirds or half the estimated/anticipated value. It is also likely that some land parcels may not even have takers.
    St Mumbai321 days ago
    “management and officers of BSNL will ultimately have to deliver the services with respect to the expectation of customers.” The ₹12,000 crore question is – do they have the will and the technical capability to do so??
    The Economic Times